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#74760 The Smearing of Jim Peron

Posted by Dragonfly on 10 July 2009 - 08:46 AM

Thank you for bringing it up. It does prove that Rowlands is as big a piece of trash as Perigo is. "By their deeds, you shall know them."

Ah, Rowlands... that's that lunatic who wrote the following rant (emphasis added):

Vegetarianism is evil. It calls for the sacrifice of one’s actual values and happiness for an arbitrary standard. There is nothing noble or positive about sacrifice for any reason. It is just mixing a little poison in with your food. Destroying a little of your life for no reason. It’s making life harder and less satisfactory an end in itself.

What’s even worse is the non-vegetarians who see nothing wrong with it, or even respect it. Caught up in the idea of respecting people for acting on their beliefs, these people never question those beliefs. It is noble to stand up for your values when they are rational, positive values. There is nothing noble at all about standing up for corruption, slavery, or murder.

Nor does it matter that vegetarianism only hurts those who practice it. Of course it is their right to believe what they want. They must be allowed the freedom to use their own minds, even if they do it poorly. But this does not mean that what they believe in should be held up as normal or good. It is evil, and it should be proclaimed as such by all.

Vegetarians should feel shame for their beliefs, not pride. They should be embarrassed to tell anyone that they refuse to eat meat, because it shows how foolish and irrational they are. They should be mocked and ridiculed, disdained and despised. People should see the evil for what it is, and affirm their own lives as their moral standard. There should be no sympathy for those who destroy their most precious value - their own lives.

Anyone still amazed that Objectivists are seen by many as a bunch of loonies?

#75577 Rand's gender hierarchy

Posted by Xray on 18 July 2009 - 05:14 PM

Words strung together without anchor.

What anchor, Xray? Everything is subjective, remember?

Don't evade the question I asked, Michelle. Not everything is subjective, only values are.
Aside from that, your comment was related to epistemology.
You wrote:
"Of course, this is again you revealing your anti-conceptual mindset. You cannot see beyond the concrete to the level of principles. A role-model is judged by the abstract nature of their personality."
So if you would be so kind to explain to me the "anti- conceptual mindset", the "level of principles" and the "abstract nature of a personality".

"The objective nutritional analysis of the food has nothing to do with the act of attributing value. Good or bad refer to the evaluation of means in respect to a chosen goal. IF my goal is to work toward staying healthy, then eating vegetables is valuable. IF other values have more weight to me, jelly beans may be the food of choice."

The standard of value is life.
You know this.
You're just being dishonest at this point.

I'm not being dishonest.
You are repeating Rand's words, that's all I know. Life as the standard of value does not apply to e. g. a nihilist, a buddhist or someone choosing to end his/her life. Nor does it apply to governments sending soldiers out to kill other people. So much for life as an "objective value".

#75550 Rand's gender hierarchy

Posted by Xray on 18 July 2009 - 10:52 AM

The difference is between objective value and subjective tastes. I might say that jelly beans are the best food in the world because they're my favorite-tasting food, and this would, of course, be a purely "subjective" valuation. Taste varies.

Attributing value to this or that is always subjective.
Even Rand critics succumb to the illusion of objective value.

For example, in his critique of Rand's ethics, M. Huemer wrote:

He quotes Rand first: "'Value' is that which one acts to gain and/or keep."

His comment:
First, just because someone acts to gain something, does not mean it has
value. If an alcoholic acts to get another drink, it does not follow that
the drink is valuable; " (ibid)


Same blankout problem. If the alcoholic seeks the drink, of course it is valuable to
him, regardless of the effects it has on his health.

However, vegetables are objectively superior as food to jelly beans, and most other "food" products.

The objective nutritional analysis of the food has nothing to do with the act of attributing value. Good or bad refer to the evaluation of means in respect to a chosen goal. IF my goal is to work toward staying healthy, then eating vegetables is valuable. IF other values have more weight to me, jelly beans may be the food of choice.

Moreover, you say that Dagny would not be a great role-model for an environmentalist. However, the existence of a good "role-model" presumes that objective standards exist.

The exact opposite is the case: for the environmentalist's values are subjectively chosen too.

You cannot say that any one person is a good example to model yourself after if (as you seem to think) no objective standards exist.

My values are subjectively chosen as well. Where is the problem?

Of course, this is again you revealing your anti-conceptual mindset. You cannot see beyond the concrete to the level of principles. A role-model is judged by the abstract nature of their personality.

Words strung together without anchor. What please is an "anti-conceptual" mindset? What do you mean by "abstract nature" of the personality? Abstracted from what?

To say "Roark is a good role-model" does not mean that "Roark is a good role-model only for aspiring architects."

Who said anything of the sort? It was Rand who said Roark is "as man should be". Well, I'm afraid the opinions differ a bit on that, i. e. not everyone values what Rand subjectively preferred.

Dagny would probably be a good role-model for anybody, because she embodies the qualities of self-confidence, determination, rationality, independence, and purposefulness.

Al Capone may have shared the same qualities. :)
DT also stands for unbridled capitalism. Fictional heros always come in a complete package.

A role-model shouldn't be someone who you emulate in every way down the purely subjective aspects of their life.

"Should", "ought" - again it indicates your subjective preference. Your posts are pretty full of those "shoulds".
And - why would one seek a role model at all?

Let's use a religious example again. How many Christians are carpenters? Some, but probably not the majority. Christ is the Christian role-model. Christians seek to become "like Christ." This does not mean that they seek to become carpenters and eventually get nailed to a piece of wood. It means that they try to apply Christ's values to their own life - values of brotherly love, mercy, and altruism.

In short, they isolate from this figure what suits their individual purpose, blanking out the other words one can read in the Bible where he speaks of destroying his enemies, etc.

#75476 Off to Vegas for Free Minds 09 & Freedom Fest

Posted by Philip Coates on 17 July 2009 - 04:15 PM

How to Break Through (end of post)

> Have you made any contacts in the world of mainstream publishing? Do you have or are you looking for an agent?

No, not yet. My assumption is that (both?) would be premature. Reason: I'm at a very early stage in getting things in polished shape to show professionals. I assume (and gather from what I've read)that no busy people in the know would talk to me until I've published some articles in the area of my interests, nor read my 'book proposal' without any credentials. And once they've said no, it's hard to reapproach them. I've read in writer's mags that agents don't represent nobodies until they can show them perhaps more than what I have. My publishing and speaking clips are pretty small compared to people with a 'name' with Ph.d's, etc. and they are right now largely within the classical liberal and Ayn Rand worlds - which is not the world I want to write for or where I want to be pigeonholed.

The good news is the (hopefully appealing if well written and thought out) nature of my topics.

The speeches and courses I gave at the summer seminars over the last ten years - Concretization, Reaching and Sustaining Benevolence, Heroes and Role Models for example - were in large measure *application* topics. I have lots to say on how even the man on the street can practically use, apply theoretical philosophy or psychology or self-help in everyday life. I'll have a struggle and lots of turn downs, but that should be easier to publish on in print than theory.

I'm thinking about other venues and formats besides "mainstream publishing". And in particular, not starting by submitting to top, highly competitive magazines.

Alternative venues include: classroom courses, lectures, workshops, print articles, online articles, workbooks and resources for teachers. I've dipped my toe into the water with this already in the classroom - courses I've taught as a teacher. "In service" workshops.

Those are my (tentative) plans on how to start. I'm very willing to listen to feedback on this. And interested to hear of any reasons why my plan is not the best one, or any other ideas. MSK said he had ideas on audience generation. I've long read publications like Writer's Digest and Writer's Market which are devoted to this and more widely how to break in, how to get published, how to carve out your 'niche' market.

I'm not rejecting the blog [or topical website] idea permanently, but I'm thinking of not starting that way for the reasons I mentioned earlier this afternoon. I'm thinking of starting by writing articles, finding speaking venues, and the other alternative approaches and audiences I just mentioned. (Included: courses at adult education and 'education reform movement' venues.


#75471 I still remember the first time I read Anthem

Posted by unklelemmy on 17 July 2009 - 02:09 PM

In fact it was the first time I read any Ayn Rand. I had heard of her and new she was an author but didn't know much else. A coworker of mine, Jen, told me she just read a book that I had to read too. She (my co-worker, not Ayn) was cute, intelligent and funny and I had a huge crush on her so I did. Alas she turned out to be a lesbian but that is a story for another day. Anyway, one day at work she came up to me and said she read a book that was so awful that I just had to read it. I figured no way could it be as bad as she was saying and it was very short so I figured what the heck and read the whole thing that night. Well, needless to say it was awfull beyond my dreams. I have often told other people of this horrible book and how they need to read it too but no one will. I guess only Jen and I shared the same interest in awful works of fiction. Alas, if only she was staright....

PS-I started reading it again on the forum and yep-its as bad as I remember!

Thank you for posting it and have a great day!

#75275 Rand's gender hierarchy

Posted by Chris Baker on 15 July 2009 - 01:07 PM

Angela, thoughts from some men:

Notes A, B.

"Who Is Dagny Taggart?" by Charles Wieder

Stephen, I would like to make a small donation ($20) to support your web site. I am glad to see that Objectivity has been preserved.

Also, you are storing all the pages as JPEG images. This is very bandwidth intensive. If you could convert them into PDF's, we could access them easier. And it would save you on the cost of bandwidth.

#75123 Off to Vegas for Free Minds 09 & Freedom Fest

Posted by Philip Coates on 13 July 2009 - 06:48 PM

Part 2.

I was exhilarated. I knew I had solved the problem and developed a complete theory. I had shown the seamless connection between induction and deduction working in tandem across a human's lifetime. I had addressed "subtopics" such as hypothesis formation. I had offered leads to how to APPLY my theory. And build logic books on it...

I would get acclaim (at least within Objectivist circles). Maybe I would go on to work in the allied fields of philosophy and psychology. (More the latter.) Peikoff would introduce me to Miss Rand. People would build on what I had done. But none of that happened. Peikoff gave me an "A" on the quite lengthy paper. ertainly an attempt to address and integrate every issue and problem related to induction. But he said he didn't completely understand it. I had invented my own terminology and new concepts: primary exhaustive generalization, metaphysical primary exhaustive generalization. I came in for a half hour conference during his office hours and explained those concepts and answered every tough question he threw at me. He nodded his head.

. . . Dead end for me. No further exploration by the man I most respected and the best teacher I had ever had. Crushing depression.

It wouldn't have been so bad if he had found a flaw or an omission. If he had asked me to rewrite it to make it clearer, I would have gladly spent another summer.

He did start to invite me to his private seminars, but certainly not to meet Rand or become one of the 'englightened' non-rifraff. He praised my contributions on occasion. But the promising students, the 'young studs' --year after year, and forever-- were always the philosophy majors, those with degrees in that area or pursuing or having Ph.d's.

In those New York years, I had even originated another important idea - in the philosophy of law, this time - which had been praised by Peikoff (and cc'ed to Binswanger.) But years later I found it circulating in the "Objectivist ether" with my name forgotten, credit to me not given, but with the exact title I had given it still attached. So, angry at the carelessness but not concluding any unethical intent, I simply decided not to offer any more major original insights. Unless they were in print. Maybe a paper in "The Objectivist Forum" or the equivalent.

After David Kelley started his own movement and seemed to welcome "fresh blood", I thought maybe "credentialitis" was less important. Kelley had been sitting in the same room on Peikoff's small apartment in those private seminars along with me, Binswanger, and others year after year. He presumably had some idea what I could do. I didn't know him at all, but he'd heard me ask lots of very good questions, knew that I was bright and quite knowledgeable.

So I dusted myself off, decided to again offer some of my intellectual contributions...

#75103 Killing the Goose

Posted by ginny on 13 July 2009 - 05:03 PM

Try living in Chicago, Adam. I'm sure you realize even what we eat is monitored (like fois gras).

#75081 Off to Vegas for Free Minds 09 & Freedom Fest

Posted by Michael Stuart Kelly on 13 July 2009 - 10:11 AM

(By the way as an aside, I -do- have a systematic, integrated theory of induction which I developed some decades ago which solves the 'problem of induction' and which even Peikoff granted addressed all the major philosophical questions.)


As a practical matter, don't you think it's about time to present it?

Decades of telling others how they should write and speak about Objectivism doesn't seem to have made much of an impact at any place I have seen. Is that what you want your life to add up to?

Why not do something more productive than tell others what to do?

You say you've got it. You say Peikoff agreed with it (for whatever worth that is).


You want applause without doing the show? It won't come. You gotta pay to play.


#75039 Linguistics for Objectivists

Posted by jeffrey smith on 12 July 2009 - 06:47 PM

Thank you, Ted.

And here's a blog I follow regularly that's fairly pertinent to this topic

#75031 Palin steps down as Governor of Alaska

Posted by Matus1976 on 12 July 2009 - 05:49 PM

2) You calmly kill the person with your rational volition by blowing him/her in half with the ten gauge semi automatic
shotgun you have for just such a rational volitional choice.

From Wikipedia, a great place to start this question -

Pride is, depending upon context, either a high sense of the worth of one's self or one's own or a pleasure taken in the contemplation of these things. One definition of pride in the first sense comes from Augustine: "the love of one's own excellence." [1] In this sense, the opposite of pride is humility.

Pride is sometimes viewed as excessive or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue. While some philosophies such as Aristotle's consider pride a profound virtue, most world religions consider it a sin. The Roman Catholic Church lists pride as the most deadly of the seven deadly sins.

Would I feel a high sense of self worth - or, would it be elevated because of this action? NO. The action took place because of that pre-existing high sense of self worth - I value my own existence and that of my loved ones quite highly. The second definition is not applicable, since it refers only to contemplating your own sense of self worth. I'm not quite sure 'pride' could be used properly in this context, but its a squirmy word and concept. I would certainly not feel shame nor regret at such an act of self defense. If pride is the opposite of that, then perhaps I would, but pride to easily conjures up an arrogant boasting or narcissistic self absorption.

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, proud comes from late Old English prut, probably from Old French prud "brave, valiant" (11th century) (which became preux in French), from late Latin term prodis "useful", which is compared with the Latin prodesse "be of use".[2] The sense of "having a high opinion of oneself", not in French, may reflect the Anglo-Saxons' opinion of the Norman knights who called themselves "proud", like the French knights preux.[citation needed]

Interesting etymological history. 'I am of use' transformed into 'brave and valiant' could that have come from one defending their ability to be useful? e.g. 'I am a being of worth and useful, and I will continue to defend my existence' or perhaps being brave and valiant was merely one's attempt at proving one's usefullness.

It's interesting that every major religion condemns pride in all forms, and here we have objectivists who are perfectly content in feeling proper pride in every other area of their lives, but yet scoffing for some reason and feeling pride for defending the most important of all values, their own existence - why? All I am seeing here is the Christian remnant of humility and pride as a sin.

I believe Pride in it's original connotation, the of the Greek or Roman conceptions of, respectively, megalopsuchia (great sould ness, Aristotle) or severitas / magninimtas (the highest manifestation of human soul) then yes, I would feel pride. But just like selfishness, pride has been corrupted by religion and modern philosophy, and that characterization of pride is definitely not something I would feel. Either way, I think I would feel that what I did was right and just.

#75027 Palin steps down as Governor of Alaska

Posted by Matus1976 on 12 July 2009 - 05:12 PM

Michael (Matus),

You kinda crack me up.

If you only knew my history...

In Brazil they say you are trying to teach the Lord's Prayer to the Priest.

Go forth in ignorance and peace, bro. I wish you well.

You still don't know jack about how South America works (or, I suspect, the world), but I still wish you well.


If you have points to make MSK, do so. Otherwise dispense with the appeals to the irrevocable logic of that which you have not said nor shared. Apparently you know nothing of the cold war struggles and the threat that communism posed to every single aspect of life. Funny that I know *nothing* about how world works yet I gave a presentation to the Navy War College's Strategic Studies Group for nearly two hours on the path the US Foreign Policy should follow for the next 50 years. So you can appeal to your pristine secrets of the South American world all you want, but if you want your experience to have any impact on people forming opinions on such matters you ought to consider SHARING THEM, instead of this twisted form of derision you launch against people who do not have telepathic access to your life story. But, as you say, go forth in ignorance and peace, I wish you well.

#75025 Palin steps down as Governor of Alaska

Posted by Matus1976 on 12 July 2009 - 05:03 PM

I'm done. If this miserable little creep wants to treat the systematic torture and murder of tens of thousands of innocent people like it's something out of The Lord of the Rings, he can do so by himself. I should have learned my lesson with him when he was waxing poetic about the joy of killing people.

Well, I had to take a break from torturing puppies and beating my wife, right? Of course, you never actually answered that very basic challenge to your philosophical position, where you said that sometimes killing was justified and right, but that it was NEVER good. THAT is the most obvious manifestation of some philosophical corruption you hold, which seems to be the same giving you this knee jerk post hoc reaction to the struggles of the Cold War. You obviously have a hard time defending such a position, so you can go ahead and make up all the nonsense you want to about me, like I'm so creepy wannabe serial killer, just to make yourself feel better about not answering a basic philosophical challenge or coming to terms with the logical implications of your own values. I should have learned my lesson when you were standing around campfires holding hands singing 'give peace a chance' flying the communist flag of North Vietnam while tens of millions of people were getting murdered and you kept right on patting your self on your own back congratulating yourself for being so morally pure.

#75007 Palin steps down as Governor of Alaska

Posted by Matus1976 on 12 July 2009 - 08:59 AM

This interpretation is borne only of an inherent contradiction in your values.


There is no contradiction in my values.

Obviously there is, because like MichelleR you can not consider 'unpleasant' things good even if they are just, right, and necessary. Garbage is a consequence of existing in a real world with tangible material realities related to achieving things you value. Yet you are disgusted by it's existence and could never feel 'pride' at removing it. In fact what you desire is some other kind of metaphysical reality where every value is attained perfectly without any 'unpleasantness' such as trash you must take out to the curb. You desire a certain existence but deride the material requirements necessary to achieve that existence, as if some platonic ideal could form itself right out of the Aether. And you used this specific example as an equivocation to killing evil people so clearly you harbor this contradiction. Garbage is a consequence of an existence where you achieve certain material goods withing reality. Killing evil people is a consequence of an existence where you achieve certain political and philosophical goods within reality.

I have seen attitudes like what you express,

And I've seen attitudes like yours, people who live in all the fruits and comforts the efforts of those who fought for their values - and sometimes killed innocents accidentally in those struggles - wrought, but deride their actions as unjust or immoral. People who some how magically want a world which is a manifestation of all their deepest values, but without the effort required to actually achieve those values. People who champion their refusal to bow down to the 'lesser of two evils' - elevating their platonic idealism over the material reality necessary to actually promulgate their goals - wanting some perfect existence to spring from Zeus's head without the trash and death of innocents along the way. People whose adherence to abstract ideals are more important than the manifestation of their values in the real world - even though pursuing the 'best of available goods' has been the source of ALL the material and political progress the world has seen. How many people were tortured and executed during the American revolution? How many soldiers of the American revolution were conscripted? And what was borne of the American revolution but nation of conscription and slavery where women couldn't vote. My god! And yet here we are now, one of the free-est nations on the planet.

with the full dose of ignorance of events and culture you yourself admit,

No such thing was admitted, the ignorance was only of actually living in a military dictatorship. Here is a picture I took when my best friend and I best visited the grave of the CIA agent most directly responsible for Che's capture and death
But hey, I know nothing about South American involvement during the Cold War.

keep Americans blind to what their government has been doing in South America.

Much like platonic idealists blind to the reality they live in. If you are not omniscient nor omnipotent, than achieving values has material consequences. To reject those is to hold man up to a moral standard of omniscience.

This kind of thinking makes it easy to pass out pompous opinions about what is better for South Americans than what the South Americans know for themselves.

Nice, appealing to collectivism and group thought. I wasn't aware that South Americans had a unanimous collective idea of what is good for themselves, nor a absolute collective sense of Identity, nor that you are their official representative. I'm pretty sure Pinochet was from south america, and apparently he disagreed with at least a few thousand people about what was best. Nor was I telling them what is better for themselves. It was the Soviet Union that made every other nation of the world a battleground against communism - not the US.

#75002 Palin steps down as Governor of Alaska

Posted by Matus1976 on 12 July 2009 - 08:20 AM

MichelleR, Talk about being disingenuous! Your post is nothing more than a series of evasions, strawmen, and false dichotomies!

it is anyone's guess how much worse it would have been had the communists obtained power

Right. Because SOMETIMES, oh, like 50% of the time, communist revolutions turn out quite nice? No, Actually, EVERY SINGLE TIME the communist took over a nation MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people were killed. One does not need a crystal ball to determine how a political philosophy which enslaves men might turn out, especially when it had all ready been done dozens of times and killed well over one hundred million people! 3,000 deaths? That is probably how many people Che Guevera PERSONALLY EXECUTED in his communist revolution in Cuba, which, by the way, was the primary sponsor of Allende's efforts. It is probably about how many are executed every year in Cuba now for being 'counter-revolutionaries' Let me ask you, by 1973, how many people had communism killed? There has never been a greater ideological threat to humanity and civilization than communism, nothing is as anti-life anti-reason as communism is. And you're going to sit here and tell me, hey, Maybe Pinochet could have secured power in the threat of a global expansionist communist menace without killing 3,000 people, while simultaneously crying no one knows what would have happened? How do YOU know he could have done that? Pinochet's defeat of communism and transition to a free state was the LEAST bloody and MOST PEACEFUL of ANY such effort in the history of the cold war!

I don't know, and, unlike you, I'm not going to pretend to know. Most likely it would have been a much worse situation.

But you seem pretty damn sure about how someone might have come to power and prevented a communist insurgency from winning, somehow, without killing a single suspected communist terrorist?

Your train scenario is rubbish. Pinochet was not some innocent fellow who had to make some rough choices in order to avert the greater disaster.

You miss the point. I was not making the analogy one of choices and consequences, because you hold Pinochet's actions up against a mystical other world divination of some perfect peaceful transition into a free state, even though this has never happened, not once, ever, in the entire history of human civilization. Oh, but PINOCHET! He's the incarnation of EVIL! Even though Chile's defeat of communism and rise to prosperity is perhaps the least bloody one ever.

Reality did not compel him or his Junta to sanction or commit the kinds of atrocities that were sanctioned and committed.
I mean, really, please explain to me how torturing 30,000+ people serves the cause of freedom. How does playing Russian Roulette with an inmate stave off communism?

Let's turn that question around on you in the same manner, lets say that there was no possible way to secure a free state without torturing 30,000 people, and that perhaps in a metaphysical sense this was the only possible way for chile to today be a free wealthy nation. It's obvious that in any state it's just and proper to sequester and interrogate treasonous offenders. What kinds of interrogation methods are justified in your opinion? If Pinochet had only killed 300 people, and interrogated and tortured 3,000, would that be more 'reasonable' to you? 30 and 300? You're question is just as irrational a claim to omniscience. I sure as hell hope there was a way for Pinochet - or any person in any similiar situation - to lay the foundations for a free nation without spilling a single drop of blood. But IS there?

You end this post with a false dichotomy. A rather patronizing one at that: apparently we can either treat political opponents (though, again, more innocents than socialists were tortured) like VIP guests, or we can subject them to pointless and cruel torture exercises designed for no other reason than to force people to say what they want them to say. Torture, after all, is a notoriously unreliable way to get real information from a person. Torture a person enough and you can make him confess to anything. Although I should have said 'to delight the sadistic fancies of the torturers' as well. After all, they were burning people alive in the streets, and electrocuting them to death in their state torture centers. I'm curious as to how those methods in particular served freedom.

Oh, right, they can lock them up, blast them with loud annoying music...that seems to be about it, and I'm sure loud annoying music will be deemed cruel and unusual soon too. But *I* used a false dichotomy? Actually there are fundamentally only three ways to get information from people, you ask them politely, bribe them, or force them. Tell me how many communist terrorists would have answered questions if asked politely? Should Pinochet have offered every suspected terrorist a Villa on the beach? And actually done properly, torture is a very accurate way of getting information, in Ancient Rome, testimony was NOT considered valid UNLESS it was the result of torture. Israel, routinely faced with 'ticking time bomb' type life and death situations, does a good job of this with a heavily regulated system integrated into their justice system, where evidence must be presented proving the suspect has the information, and a specific set of procedures are followed, much like your typical sentencing procedures in the US. They don't hand the guy over to someone and say 'go at it'

Let me ask you this, say you have a pedophile serial killer, he's killed a dozen kids, he now in custody and all evidence proves his guilt beyond any doubt and he confesses to the crimes. However, a 13th kid is still missing, and is known to be alive, but is buried somewhere running out of air. He won't say where she is unless he's guaranteed freedom and a villa on beach. Torturing this man would be proper and just if handled correctly, and would in fact serve freedom and justice.

#75001 Palin steps down as Governor of Alaska

Posted by Matus1976 on 12 July 2009 - 07:41 AM


Good. (Our posts crossed.)

Now take a good hard look at phrases like "comparable evil" and how you brush off one as almost inconsequential. And how you speculate at all the evil monsters in Chile, the ones you admit you know nothing about. Etc., etc., etc.

I admit to not having 1st hand knowledge about living in a military dictatorship, which was apparently your prerequisite for speaking at all on the morality of military dictatorships. I did not admit to knowing nothing about Pinochet, Chile, or the Cold War and US Involvement in other nations during that time - in fact I know quite alot about all of them.

If you don't want to say murdering them was good, and the innocents was merely collateral damage to that good, you should not imply it so strongly.

again, you infer what was not implied. Murdering innocent people is not ever good and I never said nor implied it was. Fighting battles against the enemies of proper rational values *is always* good. Some battles, in some circumstances, have 'collateral damage' that does not mean the battle is unjust, as long as the efforts to contain collateral damage are proper withing that historical context. Other people dying in the course of a battle is not MURDER, to suggest it is (as discussed in the "Objectivist Death Cult thread" - is a great philosophical corruption - and if enacted literally, no war which has promulgated Freedom would have ever been fought or won.

btw - The Soviet government was not responsible for the military dictatorships in South America. The South Americans were.

And you say I know nothing about such things? Absent the Soviet Union - there would have been NO serious marxist presence anywhere in the world. The Soviet Union had a great deal to do with EVERY communist nation in the world, and every communist insurgency in the world. Those military dictatorships, as murderous and shitty as they often were, often were the only possible rational manner for the US to contain and combat communism. I don't hear you or MichelleR condemning Sigmen Rhee, who was probably far more vicious of a person than Pinochet was. Why not? Those military dictatorships were often the only way to prevent a communist take over, because the standard operating procedure of the Soviet Union and all the communist insurgencies it sponsored - was to assassinate political opponents or merely people who they thought may become political opponents some day. Fledgeling democracies were the prime target of communist expansionism because of their volatile nature and lack of rule of law. Sponsoring a 'democracy' would have resulted in another one of those amazing communist votes that have 99.9% turnout and they all 'vote' for the wannabe communist dictator. The Soviet Union often spent half of it's GDP sponsoring wars and revolutions, and the US spent a good portion of it's GDP combating them (8% at it's peak) So to suggest military dictatorships in South America were only the responsibility of South Americans is disingenuous - and very insulting to South Americans. It's no more accurate than saying Vietnam was merely a disagreement between the people of the North and South, instead of a small group of communists funded by the soviet union attempting to conquer and enslave another country. Without the Soviet Union's backing, The Vietnam War would have been a nutcase shouting in the town square that no one paid any attention to.

#74974 Read This Thread, Brant

Posted by Brant Gaede on 11 July 2009 - 10:57 PM

I've been very cranky these last few days. I spent most of Thursday in the emergency room after Mom fell down and hit her head, and when I finally got home I found OL had turned into a pumpkin. I am now starting to be impressed. Mom comes home tomorrow with a few stitches and a black eye. When old people hit their heads--and not so old--you want Cat Scans to rule out intracranial bleeding. My aunt by marriage didn't do that and spent the last seven years of her life in a nursing home after suffering an effective stroke caused by pressure on the brain that could have easily been relieved if caught in time by the insertion of a shunt. A boy in Australia recently suffered a head injury and his doctor under the instructions of a remote neurosurgeon used a common electric drill to drill a hole in his skull to relieve bleeding pressure. Ronald Reagen fell off a horse in Mexico after he was President, hit his head and got a shunt. Words to the wise.


#74928 Linguistics for Objectivists

Posted by Ted Keer on 11 July 2009 - 08:00 PM

If you want to study lingusitics, I would recommend five books for beginners. The first is Anthony Burgess's A Mouthful of Air. Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange in which he created a future dialect of British English highly influenced by Russian. His book A Mouthful of Air serves as a very gentle but interesting introduction to linguistics for the lay reader. He introduces the reader to English and its sounds and offers a rigorous way to describe them called the IPA or international phonetic alphabet. The IPA provides one symbol for each sound and there is only one sound for each symbol. Most of the IPA letters are based on the Latin alphabet with letters also used from the Greek and other alphabets as well as even some runes and specially made up symbols. Some forty such symbols serve to describe all the sounds in English. They are easy to learn, and one learned they are not tricky to use.

Burgess then shows how English evolved through time from Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) and he provides a survey of the world's languages, from close and closer relatives of English like Russian and Welsh to German and Dutch to languages like Japanese and Arabic which are usually describe as unrelated to English, although that is a relative and not an absolute description. Burgess shows how to compare the basic vocabulary of languages in order to classify them if possible into groups and thus indicate that they are related. Once the reader has finished his book which has no technicalities greater than the IPA (and you do not even need to master it, just get the idea in order to benefit from it) he will be prepared to move on to ever so slightly more technical books which will give him a window on the languages of the world.

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coming: Fromkin and Rodman, An Introduction to Language, Campbell, Concise Compendium of the World's Languages, Calvert Watkin's American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots and Merritt Ruhlen, The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue.

#74909 The Titan Sphere

Posted by Selene on 11 July 2009 - 06:52 PM


I will be commenting as I go through it. So far so good. If there is a typo, do you wish to know about it? For example,
in Par. 1, "...it [is?] that detail that inspired the two to venture out in search of the unknown."


That struck me by the third paragraph and I also liked the Al-Shon which made me more aware of the disparate language sets. Not knowing them the way you do, but it was subconsciously dissonant.

In Dune,et. al., which I love, the language had a cultural integrity while sounding whole. Is that what you were alluding to?

IPA stands for ?.

And I will always look at a linguistics or language website.


#74900 Read This Thread, Brant

Posted by Ted Keer on 11 July 2009 - 05:53 PM

"View New Content" doesn't seem to be displaying most new posts. I found this out by clicking on my profile then my posts and then my particular posts and seeing new posts on the thread subsequent to my posting that I never noticed in View New Content.


Want to see the most recent post of an active thread, including your own post?

Go to Portal (follow the link above on this page) and then click on Today's Active Topics. This will give you all the most recent posts, including your own, as if you had clicked on "recent posts" with the "today" option instead of "since last visit."

Doing this will make sure you can see both your own recently posted to threads as well as those active with the posts of others. When you click on the title of any thread that comes up it will take you to the most recent post.

The only problem is that getting back there after you actually do visit one of those active threads requires going again to portal, and then again to Today's Active Topics.

That's why I suggest just bookmarking Today's Active Topics so you can go there in one click.

It works!. Thanks, Ted.


I am not an altruist, Brant. I expect you to sanction me for this.