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  1. Some further comment after Ellen's post ... Quoting caroljane: “... it [a vaccination ID] illustrates my point. A public health measure is not viewed [by those who object to this?] as what it is, a measure to limit the initiation of force by citizens upon each other, but as – well, what? An infringement on your sacred right to get sick, and make others sick?” The ending is sarcastic and “initiation of force” is designed to push Objectivists’ buttons. The mask orders, “lockdowns” of healthy people, limiting businesses, closing businesses, forbidding public assembly, etc. have to do with naked power, nothing to do with public health – where is the science as they say – and neither does a vaccination ID. (It would be a federally issued ID that would track your medical history and be required to use the post office, fly, eventually to use a bank, etc.) The last is monstrous even if the Pfizer’s experimental vaccine (which isn’t a vaccine) were proven safe, and it hasn’t been. It is, as I just said, experimental (link to abridged talk by Simone Gold). Let’s get real. Even without treatment a healthy and non-decrepit person’s chance of getting very sick from Covid-19 is near zero. With treatment – and there are several inexpensive ones available – it is inconsequential Life is inherently, metaphysically, risky. You engage in reasonable precautions to minimize risk. What has been going on is not reasonable precautions but a naked power grab by totalitarians. Neo-communists would be a fitting label too.
    4 points
  2. I have often thought of the fundamental asymmetry between Marxist collectivists and classical liberals / radical Capitalism. The former relies on and is rooted in proactive force and cannot countenance the latter in any way, but instead must overthrow it, eradicate it. There can be no harmony with the latter's existence. The latter is pacifist like nothing the hippies would ever have dreamed up, with non-initiation of force at its base. Rather than outlawing collectivism as such (while of course outlawing collectivist use of force) the latter is perfectly harmonious with any voluntary collective. The one leaves no one be, even those who would choose to be left alone. The latter leaves everyone alone and equally leaves them free to choose to live in whatever level of collective promiscuity they wish. The Liberal (Classical) has no place in the Leftist's world view, whereas the Leftist's would have a place in the Liberal's world, only their use of force would be impermissible. This stark contrast, this asymmetry I find fascinating and inspiring, it may be the greatest example of the benevolence of freedom as a foil in the face of naked tyranny and yet it get's little to no attention. Perhaps there are so many who only "group think", who almost always and ever consider themselves, society and government only in terms of "we" (and "them"), and never think of themselves, their lives, and their freedom's in terms of "I" or "me". There is a great mass of lost souls, adult children, so mortally terrified of solitude and independence, ... that they must annihilate any solitary minded person or any ideas of individual liberty. Perhaps those who would be left free and would leave others also to be free are at a disadvantage... or perhaps not? I suppose as long as they are not naive to the naked will to power which possesses the lost cravens who seek oblivion for all, liberty minded persons can survive. But we must be vigilant. Anyway. Why is this asymmetry not more directly spoken of? Why don't Freedom lovers tell the middle-left (non violent progressives), you could organize yourselves in our world, you just cant use guns to threaten us, or anyone?
    4 points
  3. There are a lot of things I want to say on this thread, but I just don't have the time. But here are a few quick notes. I agree about asymmetry between Marxism and Capitalism. But notice that what is called capitalism these days is not capitalism. It's crony corporatism. The pharmaceutical cartel, for example, is called capitalism, but it is a monopoly racket protected by government-enforced privilege against newcomers and often funded by the government. Ayn Rand said somewhere that any compromise between good and evil only benefits evil. Good has nothing to gain from evil. I am not in favor of regulating free speech. I don't like top-down government dispensers of rights. But I am in favor of this: This part I really agree with. Not even the government is required to provide a platform for those who threaten it and preach its destruction. Let such people do that at their own places. Michael
    4 points
  4. It is a disadvantage to tolerate the left in public. We place too much value on freedom of speech. It's like some religious dogma we have. No, sometimes speech needs regulation. Let's recognize that when a leftist advocates for socializing property, he's initiating a process of force against private property holders. Left unchecked, we run the risk of losing everything to the left simply because we tolerate them and the loot-thirsty mob that gathers behind them. It's like listening to a psycho rant about how he's going to rape a woman, and we do nothing about it. Then his psycho friends arrive and they all agree, "Yeah, let's gang rape her!" We just walk away and go home and watch TV. On the news later we find out that she was raped by that gang. The difference is that the left rapes people legally with the institutions of government power. Our tolerance of evil speakers is essentially the same, but it seems okay in the case of democratic socialists because they want to be evil with the permission of voters. This is why we at minimum need to ban socialists from the government. I would also ban them from speaking on public property. Let them buy private property and speak there, but if they threaten the government they need to be stopped. Unfortunately we have not banned them, and now they are terrorizing citizens and embedding themselves in our government.
    4 points
  5. With the metaphysical threats of China, the wuflu attack on western civilization, the rise of a brazen global oligarchy, and totalitarian ideas like the Great Reset, and the recent elections and kangaroo impeachments... I’m starting to feel like Ayn Rand’s overwhelming focus on altruism was slightly misguided, in the sense that it is not the evil (out there) as such, it is a misdirection and a weapon used by the naked will to power and domination by the tyrannically inclined, targeting our weaknesses to obtain obedience. But that will to power the tyrannical powers of the psyche seem now to have been unleashed in the powerful and in the sheeple. The absolute monarch, the oligarchs, the totalitarian they do not hold altruism or community or equality as principles, but as tools of control. When there are few evil doers we protect ourselves from the ideas they try to use against us, but once the evil doers become prevalent or the majority we few must protect ourselves from them not just their ideas. The primary external evil is no longer the internal moral failing of the individual, even though it may have been its primary agitator and may have derived its primary power from it in the form of a population who has fallen to and the joined the ranks of the enemies of freedom. We see the will to power using against us everything we hold dear, peace, harmony, family, our own sense of empathy and benevolence both as threat and as alms. Granted, Ayn Rand knew of these dynamics and warned us all that this might happen, but the overwhelming focus of warnings against altruism seem out of balance now. That was primarily a preventative, and not enough people listened. In her lifetime perhaps it was best to try to stem the philosophical tide toward oblivion, to warn the culture running for the edge of the cliff, but now that it or a large part has careened over, what message or warning or exhortation can be made to those few sane left, perhaps clinging to the edge of the cliff and straining with the dark insane evil mass of suffering still dangling from their feel by some sharp claw, what kind of advice can be given to them who still wish to save themselves? I begin to feel that a philosophical rejection of Altruism is insufficient now that what it focused on to avoid has come to pass... the power hungry disdain all such ideas, the masses form a new mob of the power hungry, and freedom lovers have no fight with their own ideas as they do with existential threats to their freedoms, their values, their very lives. philosophy perhaps has run its course? sigh Just starting to feel something...
    4 points
  6. Another reason to look at the goings on around the Q Continuum is to understand the psychology of others, since we do, after all, live in a society where both the leadership and voters have an impact on our direct lives, now, via lockdowns and the economy, restricting our freedom of speech and threatening worse. Conversely, it's worth it to observe the religious beliefs of those in opposition to those forces, to see what keeps them ticking, and to compare and contrast to O'ism. After all, Rand did write, in "What Can One Do?", that while it wouldn't be good to join with conservatives or libertarians, we may have to join "ad hoc committees" towards a single or multiple purposes, but without letting any one's ideals dominate to the extent that common goal is rendered moot. But still, in order to know how to work together, there needs to be an understanding of the beliefs of those "strange bedfellows..." So, here's an example: Former Secretary Pompeo, on his personal Twitter account, just tweeted out Hebrews 11-1: Hebrews 11:1, KJV: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." On the surface, at face value, it's just a bible verse about faith and hope in times of uncertainty. (Though I could go on, I guess, to analyze it against the objectivist notion of "faith", bring in Kant, etc...but I have work to do.) But "anons" believe they've found another layer: 11.3 in the Q posts, they now believe, did NOT refer to the election, but to a particular DoD war manual, and 11.3 and 11.1, when written that way, correspond to the section about foreign occupation. They are taking these Q posts and Pompeo tweets as markers. Here's Pompeo's tweet: (Btw...here's another tweet from his former official Twitter account, as shared on Gab, where he refers to the CCP in "Kill brackets", a common Q thing...at the least, it indicates a shared method of communication...) https://gab.com/Limerence/posts/105583972615447286 And here's the anon theory: https://gab.com/mysticphoeniix/posts/105614586717654154 did POMPEO's tweet ref the DoD WAR MANUAL Anonymous 01/24/21 (Sun) 22:10:30 No.12699575 "Did an anon get this part already? Pompeo Hebrews 11.1. 11.1 in the DoD Law of War is the Occupation chapter. 11.1 INTRODUCTION This Chapter addresses military occupation. The GC provides specific rules for the internment of protected persons in occupation, which are addressed in Chapter X. Military occupation is a temporary measure for administering territory under the control of invading forces, and involves a complicated, trilateral set of legal relations between the Occupying Power, the temporarily ousted sovereign authority, and the inhabitants of occupied territory.1" And here's the link to the DoD manual: https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/DoD Law of War Manual - June 2015 Updated Dec 2016.pdf?ver=2016-12-13-172036-190 Whether Objectivists believe it god, faith, etc, is besides the point. The point is that THEY believe in it, and it intertwines in how they are fighting this fight, and demonstrates how their faith keeps them going in uncertainty. (It may be easy to scoff at government/ military men using religion as a guide, the way Rand mocked Reagan for calling in an astrologer...but then, how many military victories were won throughout history by men who called on a deity to guide them? We can chalk the wins up to strategy, or even luck, but it was their faith that encouraged them to continue.) Contrast that against those who have thrown in the towel with cries of "we're doomed!", and many of those people may even call themselves Objectivist, for that matter... This is not something to be dismissed lightly, or simply mocked away. If you look at concentration camp survivors, many of them had to find not just the strength of will, but employed faith to survive. Viktor Frankel has written about his experience there, for reference. Of course, some of them were just lucky, while others never had a chance, no matter what they believed ,through no fault of their own. More on that, in a moment. And of course, many Jews disavowed god, after that, as well, so fair enough. One could then say, like Jordan Peterson does, that maybe purpose is better than faith, because "a man “He whose life has a why can bear almost any how." That would seem to work WITH the Objectivist philosophy, as Rand had a major belief in purpose. But we can also find examples of faith there, combined with purpose. Talking about the concentration camps, I acknowledged that some survivors were simply lucky. Well, Look at WE THE LIVING. Kira's survival rested on her faith in American, and her purpose to be an engineer. She pushed herself to carry on, to escape, to get to "the promised land." The fact that she didn't, because Russia was "airtight", according to her theme, is besides the point. (But consider, if America falls to communism, will the world then be "airtight", with no America to escape to? Then it becomes a case not of flight, but of fight...and what will we put our faith in, then?) And I think even Rand said something to the effect of America may has well been a fantasy to Russians. But then, Rand herself DID escape. Now, she had help, but she was also "lucky", as were many holocaust survivors, in the sense that it all worked out. But "fortune favors the ready", as they say. And because Rand was "Ready" in mind and spirit, she was able to be "one of the lucky ones." And part of being ready required faith despite uncertainty. The idea was that she saw another way. The difference is that her vision was metaphysically possible, as opposed to say, waiting for heaven, it was earth-oriented. Rand was a Romantic REALIST, after all. But still, she had faith despite uncertainty of being able to get out, faith that it was possible, despite the odds, and she fought to get out with her dying breath. As Barbara Branden liked to quote, "Price no object." To sum up, the people currently at the forefront of this fight are have combined their religion with their military strategies. It's not unprecedented, and despite the feasibility of the religious metaphysical reality, it's their faith that gets them through it through uncertainty. It's not a "blind faith", if only because there is an earthly military practicality to it. The question for Objectivists watching/fighting along with "strange bedfellows": Since O'ists aren't in charge, do we wait for the perfect plan, the John Galt with the best strategy? Or do we work with what we have? I'll leave it with this :To quote Sun Tzu, “Weak leadership can wreck the soundest strategy; forceful execution of even a poor plan can often bring victory.”
    4 points
  7. "Don't worry; we'll pick up the slack." It's...strange. When Trump first ran, I was not a fan of his, for a few reasons. But then I saw the over-reactions from others turn into TDS. I started to see through the lies. THEN, I saw MY image of Trump change from Trump the sleazy casino magnet and celebrity apprentice shit-stirrer to Trump the American, the fighter, the patriot, etc. And today, when I heard that he had gone to Walter Reed, my heart dropped. Up until recently, I was concerned about the government protecting the citizens during the riots, etc; Now, I want to protect Trump. I thought this was going to be my "Kennedy" moment. I don't normally feel this way about politicians. But this...this is different. If you had told me 4 years ago I'd be feeling this way, I wouldn't have believed it. If anything happens to Trump, he will become a martyr. Is it too strong to say that? I hope it doesn't come to that. And maybe I'm just caught up in emotion. But he's at the forefront of something, something that years of libertarian politics or ARI trying to spread Ayn Rand's message couldn't do. Whatever happens, I really hope that people pick up the slack. God speed.
    4 points
  8. He's a child or else a very young adult. The graphic is General Iroh from Avatar: the Last Airbender an anime series that ran from 2005-2008 and is still popular today. The hand gesture Iroh is making is likely part of a kata as he often imparted wisdom to his grandson while they trained together. My 15-year-old and I loved that series and quote from it on a semi-regular basis. The very next line after the graphic, our mystery poster says, "So here I am, trying to draw wisdom from a new source." I read him in the same way I would have read my teenage son - more mature and smarter than average, but an awkward communicator and not sure how to convey that he wants to learn something while maintaining that he knows everything. You know, like a kid would do. Your experience, MSK, led you to read him differently, and you'll get no judgment from me on that, neither in my response to the poster nor in this response to you. However, I was compelled to answer honestly his honest inquiry. No, I did not get the same impression of him as others did.
    4 points
  9. INTRODUCTORY NOTE: Wow, I haven't posted here in a long time. Unfortunately I've been preoccupied with working on my PhD. Another point I want to make is that, unfortunately, I've been finding that many conversations in the Objecto-sphere have become rather monotonous and rarely are new ideas or new topics being addressed, and thus the discussion has become less interesting for me in recent years. I'm still an Objectivist, I just haven't seen too much novelty in the Objectivist world, which is another reason I've been less than present on this forum. However, I am back with an article I wrote. I couldn't get it published at more general libertarian-outreach-activism places so I thought here would be a good choice. All comments are appreciated! NANCY MACLEAN, LIBERTARIANS AND AUTISM Introduction Criticism of Duke University history professor Nancy MacLean has become a cottage industry ever since she published her demented smear job against Public Choice Theory "Democracy In Chains." Indeed, MacLean's work is full of absurd distortions, misrepresentative quoting, and obvious untruths. Her entire thesis is that Public Choice Theory is racist; frankly I wonder if Nancy is attempting to continue Duke University's proud tradition of racially charged false accusations. Public choice scholars and economists like Michael Munger (see http://www.independent.org/issues/article.asp?id=9115 ) and Steven Horwitz (see https://www.cato.org/cato-journal/fall-2017/democracy-chains-deep-history-radical-rights-stealth-plan-america-nancy ) have done an admirable job in effectively shredding MacLean's thesis, but MacLean knew, just like Mike Nifong and Crystal Mangum, that women's tears are almost always believed and as such she decided to play victim (https://www.chronicle.com/article/Nancy-MacLean-Responds-to-Her/240699). It is no surprise Oprah shilled her book; I'm sure that soon enough Lifetime will be producing a telemovie about the trauma she suffered at being critiqued. But the point of this article isn't to channel my inner Christopher Hitchens and say nasty things about MacLean's screed. Plenty of far better commentators have done this. Rather, I am going to make a qualified defense of something she did say whilst criticizing what she seemed to be attempting to imply with what she said. We all know how utterly frustrating it is when people deal with their political enemies through the use of diagnosis as a substitute for dialectic. The Soviet Union took this to its logical extreme through claiming that political dissidents were mentally ill, because clearly no sane person could disagree with Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism; more recent entries in this category include the so-called "Republican Brain Hypothesis" (see https://www.abbeys.com.au/book/republican-brain-the-science-of-why-they-deny-science-and-reality.do ) that was proposed during the culture wars against the Religious Right during the George W. Bush administration. MacLean decided to add to this genre of political pseudoargument through arguing that there is indeed a libertarian brain, and that libertarian brain is characterized by being on the autism spectrum (see https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/13/democracy-in-chains-author-nancy-maclean/print ). Katherine Timpf at National Review fumed (https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/nancy-maclean-libertarians-seem-autism-spectrum/). Like several other critics pointed out (see https://psmag.com/news/on-libertarians-autism-and-empathy and https://anintenseworld.com/2018/02/10/duke-historian-nancy-maclean-identifies-autism-as-the-source-of-a-malevolent-ideology/ ), MacLean's understanding of autism primarily in terms of lacking empathy and not feeling solidarity with others is based on an outdated portrait of being on the autistic spectrum rooted primarily in the "Mind Blindness" concept of Simon Baron-Cohen; more recent research has greatly questioned whether "Mind Blindness" is a correct portrait in the first place. But so far, the responses to MacLean have focused on the fact she equates libertarianism with a lack of empathy and solidarity with others, and the fact that she equates being on the autistic spectrum with lacking said empathy and solidarity. These are all valid critiques to make of her position, but so far there has been little attempt to wrestle with the question of whether or not MacLean is correct that there might be a link between libertarianism and being on the autistic spectrum. Not only that, but no one to my knowledge has questioned the unstated premise of MacLean's argument, which is that libertarian economics (and Public Choice in particular) is wrong because the brains which formulated these economics are arguably on the autistic spectrum. MacLean's argument is simply not an argument unless one accepts that having autism or Asperger's Syndrome introduces systematic error into one's economic reasoning. Indeed, for MacLean to be correct, having a brain that is positively drenched in "empathy" and "solidarity with others" is necessary to be a good economist. My argument is simple; yes, it is in fact likely that libertarians are disproportionately likely to be either on the austistic spectrum or have subclinical levels of symptoms typically thought of as indicating Asperger's Syndrome. Libertarian thought and philosophy often is characterized by the kind of cognitive style which, in its extreme form, is characteristic of austists and in particular the high-functioning autists commonly described as having Asperger's Syndrome. This is where MacLean is right. However, the implication that this kind of cognitive style makes you bad at doing economics is precisely the opposite of the truth. Indeed, having a degree of autistic symptoms can plausibly be thought of as an advantage for an economist, and that it is the caring-feeling-empathy-solidarity normie-brain which could represent a disadvantage for someone trying to perform economic analysis. On a personal note, I am not just a libertarian with Bachelors and Masters degrees in economics (and in the process of working on a Doctorate in the field), but I also have Asperger's Syndrome. Nancy MacLean's statements therefore constitute an allegation that my very brain is less capable at economic reasoning than it would be if I were neurotypical (i.e. not someone with Asperger's Syndrome). Of course, one must wonder why I would develop an interest in and devote substantial amounts of time and effort to the field of economics if I were mentally impaired at comprehending it! 1. Libertarians: More 'spergy Than Average How someone thinks, their "cognitive style" or what Ayn Rand called their "psycho-epistemology," is partially determined by biology. Of course anyone of any neurology can grasp that 2 + 2 = 4, but research has shown that the biology of the brain influences how people think. Dr. Helen Fisher, for example, researches how brain chemistry impacts things like people's love life and people's politics (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lOPtTbFCMY ). Neurobiology has political correlates, as Fisher points out; she characterizes libertarians as having brains highly influenced by natal testosterone. Jonathan Haidt and several co-researchers also, in a study of libertarian morality, point out that biological factors can predispose one (albeit often indirectly) to different political ideologies (see http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0042366&type=printable ). An interesting thing which Haidt et al. point out is that libertarians rely on reason more, and emotion less, than leftists or conservatives; this is tested using Simon Baron-Cohen's Empathizer-Systemizer scale (see p12-13). This scale is interesting in that it is linked both to being on the autism spectrum and also gender; "libertarians score the lowest of any group on empathizing, and the highest on systemizing. In fact, libertarians are the only group that scored higher on systemizing than empathizing... relatively high systemizing and low empathizing scores are characteristic of the male brain, with very extreme scores indicating autism. We might say that liberals have the most 'feminine' cognitive style, and libertarians the most 'masculine'" (p13). In spite of Baron-Cohen's contested contention that people on the autism spectrum are less capable of empathy, the point remains that there is clearly correspondence between Haidt, Fisher and Baron-Cohen here; persons whom are on the autism spectrum can be described as having an atypically "masculinized" (i.e. shaped by prenatal testosterone) brain. Libertarians (on average) have brains which are more testosterone-influenced than the general population. It stands to reason, therefore, that brains-predisposed-to-libertarianism are more likely to also either be on the autistic spectrum or at least have more autistic-spectrum-traits than the average brain. This also provides a theoretical explanation for why libertarian communities are disproportionately male; strongly masculinized brain development is more likely to happen to natally male individuals. This "systemizer-brain" orientation is evidenced all over libertarian culture, as evidenced by the emphasis we tend to place on logical consistency and reason in general (to the point where our biggest magazine is literally named Reason). As Ayn Rand made clear, she was not primarily an advocate of markets, liberty and egoism, but rather of reason, and if one embraced reason all the rest would follow; agree or disagree with Rand as much as you like, but she serves as evidence of how libertarianism has deep cognitive roots. The fact that libertarian advocacy is ultimately rooted in the Enlightenment, which championed human reason, is further evidence of this. Whilst the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has fallen out of favor with academic psychology research, I distinctly remember discussions in libertarian communities about how libertarians are about 80% xNTx (it is even more extreme amongst Randians/Objectivists, whom are about 85% xNTx and particularly biased towards INTx individuals; indeed MBTI enthusiasts often characterize Howard Roark as an INTP, and Rand herself as an INTJ); this is massively disproportionate relative to the general population, which is about 12% xNTx. The xNTx style of cognition is the "rational temperament" focused on thinking rather than feeling, and high level abstractions over immediate sensory information. To the extent that cognitive style is biological, the implications are depressing for libertarians. The libertarian mindset is strongly correlated with a brain that is heavily influenced by prenatal testosterone, moreso than the average brain. Libertarianism appeals to an atypical style of mind, one that is likely to exhibit more characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome or the autism spectrum generally; libertarianism appeals to a mind which is more emotionally detached, more introverted, more abstract, and less invested in social relationships than the norm (Haidt et al.'s paper substantiates this; libertarians are less likely to define or describe themselves in terms of their relationships to other people). This is consistent with the fact that libertarianism is not a mass movement, and implies that most people will find libertarianism counterintuitive at least initially. 2. Good Economics Is Counterintuitive Too It has been noticed by many that even very mainstream economics requires thinking that goes "against the grain." As Bryan Caplan demonstrated in The Myth of the Rational Voter, the average American diverges substantially from the economic beliefs of the average economist, and diverges in systematic and predictable ways (in particular, the average American is less pro-market than the average economist). The economists in the survey are a general cross-section of economists, and not "just the staff of the Cato Institute," so it cannot be claimed that there is bias in the selection of experts; the experts are consistently to the economic 'right' (if by 'right wing' one means pro-market) of the average American citizen. Even economists generally associated with the left, such as Paul Krugman, are surprisingly pro-market relative to the average (Krugman, for example, is more pro-free-trade than Steve Bannon). Not all libertarians are economists and not all economists are libertarians, but the presence of libertarians within economics is unquestionably disproportionate relative to the general population. The point to emphasize, however, is that according to the experts, average people are (on average) systematically wrong about the benefits of markets. Caplan notices that even first year economics students come into the classroom bearing the imprints of multiple economic errors which need to be eliminated from their thought. In other words, even non-controversial neoclassical economics goes against the intellectual grain for many, many people. This should not be a surprise. After all, economics is the field that suggests (and this is anything but a controversial argument in economics) people who act selfishly in the commercial realm will make life better for other people alongside themselves; this is hardly the first thing that comes to the mind of most people when they're asked to picture a "selfish" person. Rather, they imagine some bloodsucking brute, not the local shopkeeper. Many people who run various local governments believe that rent control is still a good policy, even if it is literally textbook bad economics. Many people believe that cheap goods from overseas somehow are "exploitation." Many people don't grasp the fundamental insight that voluntary trade where parties have all the relevant information will always make both parties better off by definition. Even non-controversial, non-extreme, standard-issue economic reasoning does not come naturally to most people. Economists in general, not merely libertarian economists, don't think typically. This does not mean all economists have Asperger's Syndrome (economic reasoning can be taught, after all); it means that economic reasoning has to fight an uphill battle against the conventional mindset. 3. Neurology And Systematic Error What I have shown is that libertarians are defined by a cognitive style which overlaps neurologically with certain symptoms of being on the autism spectrum. This is what Nancy McLean is correct about. I have also shown that economists in general (across the political spectrum) are more pro-market than average people, so the "norm" (which presumably includes and is defined by the majority of neurotypical persons) is systematically wrong. What I have not shown yet is that the characteristics of the neurotypical cognitive style (higher levels of empathizing than systemizing, "solidarity with other people" as MacLean claims, that kind of thing) can systematically bias someone towards incorrect economic conclusions. This is what I will now attempt to do. I should clarify that I do not intend to claim someone must have Asperger's Syndrome or substantial levels of autistic-spectrum-traits in order to be a good economist; economic reasoning is a skill which can be taught. All I am claiming is that having at least some level of autistic-spectrum-traits helps avoid systematic error. The first argument that needs to be made is that economics, as a field, is focused entirely on systemizing and has literally no room for empathizing. In economics, society and individuals are dealt with impersonally, as either collections of logical rules or utility functions or value-scales. Every person is merely one item in a far larger picture. Economists think in terms of optimizing systems, not caring for particular individuals (this does not mean they do not care, merely that this isn't the focus of economics). Standard-issue general equilibrium economics is built from mathematical models borrowed from field theory in physics. Individual happiness is just a matter of "utility" - a simple quantity of pleasure/satisfaction. The economy is invariably conceptualized as a system... be it a physical system, a biological system, a network, a machine, but it is still a system. Not only that, but economists are addressing one of the most painful and difficult facets of the human condition - specifically poverty - and how to ameliorate it. We have to deal with difficult tradeoffs that may sacrifice ten lives to save twenty five other lives. This simply is not a field suited to mindsets that focus on things like "feelings" and "empathy" and "solidarity" and "caretaking" and the other things which Nancy MacLean associates with the neurotypical mindset; it is a field which requires cold calculation, and often literal calculation since at times economics is like physics or mathematics. In this situation, a systemizing-oriented brain is exactly what one wants to have solving the problems. It is easier to speak of temporary frictional unemployment than to be confronted with the day-to-day minutiae of someone without any marketable skills trying to secure a job interview. A second, and in my opinion stronger, argument could be made however. Let us look at several "textbook bad economics" policies. How are these policies sold to the polity? How are they justified? Rent control is a fantastic example: "to ensure affordable housing for the poor." The motive here is compassion, solidarity, empathy, a concern for the plight of the poor. And it isn't controversial to say it doesn't work. Welfare states are consistently justified in terms of compassion for the suffering and solidarity between human beings. But, pray tell, why are these welfare states almost always full of massive bureaucracies rather than policies which handle welfare through simple income transfers (for example via a negative income tax or basic income guarantee)? Given the many problems and flaws that bureaucracy and its associated incentives have, one would think that a genuine motive of compassion doesn't necessarily mean one will pick the least costly, most effective means of being compassionate. Of course some environmental protections are easily defensible on the basis of economic reasoning. But what about environmentalist attacks on genetically modified organisms (a proven-safe technology) or nuclear power (which is incredibly safe and efficient if modern technology is used)? Environmentalists consistently appeal to the emotions, to empathizing, to feelings and fluffiness in their campaigns to cast GMOs as "impure" and all nuclear power plants as Chernobyls-In-Waiting. Nordhaus and Schellenberger, both economists, campaign (through their think-tank the Breakthrough Institute, see https://thebreakthrough.org/about/mission/ ) for technological solutions to environmental problems, yet the environmental establishment still demands wind, solar, organic and biodynamic (the latter of which is based on a semi-spiritual framework rather than a purely scientific one). Environmentalism appeals to compassion, feelings, oneness with the earth and all of that emotionalistic illogical bilge, yet consistently avoids the policy proposals actual economists can demonstrate would be effective means to environmentalists' declared ends. Let us also look at the monster example: socialism. Socialism was motivated in many cases by compassion for the poor, by the desire to reduce poverty, by the desire to spread prosperity as widely as possible. Every attempt to try it failed miserably, and to the extent that any socialist system worked it only worked to the extent it preserved property rights and market incentives (for example Titoism, which avoided famine, yet did so through preserving property rights over farmland). It strikes some as counterintuitive to suggest that letting people keep things for themselves (i.e. property rights) can result in a larger and broader distribution of goods than forcibly taking those goods and collectivizing ownership, but the historical record makes it clear that property rights and markets are essential conditions to wide-scale prosperity. Again, not even left-leaning economists contest this; the Economic Calculation Problem is a fact, which is why contemporary economists on the left are Social Democrats rather than old-school Socialists. There is a systematic pattern; advocacy of bad economics is constantly rooted in the same motives Nancy MacLean accuses libertarians and persons on the autistic spectrum as lacking. Compassion and solidarity and empathy are certainly positive traits, yet they seem to be the driving force behind some atrociously bad policy preferences. This certainly doesn't mean that good intentions always result in bad policy, but it suggests a possible theory that I will summarize as follows: "Neurotypical drives towards compassion, empathy, solidarity and other associated feelsy-niceness override rational consideration of what means are actually effective at generating the desired positive outcomes. Because people with at least some level of austistic-spectrum-traits can detach themselves from the compulsive cries of 'feelings' more easily, they may be better judges of what is practically effective." Conclusion Nancy MacLean's book on Public Choice is frankly so bad the only use I can see for it is toilet paper, even though I generally prefer pages of Abrahamic religious texts for that particular purpose. However, she isn't wrong to suggest libertarians may be more likely to have Asperger's Syndrome or at least an atypically high level of autistic-spectrum-traits relative to the general population. But that doesn't make us wrong about the economics. Indeed, the opposite is likely to be true. Highly empathizing brains without much systemizing capability are not the brains you want to have evaluating different economic policies. Frankly awful economics is typically justified on the basis of empathetic, caring, emotionalistic rationales. The more people feel and the less people think (i.e. the more they empathize and the less they systemize), the worse their economic reasoning gets. Even by the relatively moderate (compared to libertarians) standards of the economics profession, the general population is deeply misguided about economic fact. Neurotypical cognitive biases towards "solidarity" and "empathy" can lead away from economic truth, not towards it. Even non-libertarian economists use cold, impersonal reasoning to justify intervention rather than appeals to emotion and fluffy-wuffy-snuggliness. Good economics goes against every instinct of the neurotypical brain, which is why it is so counterintuitive and so many prejudices need to be weeded out. Libertarians, on the other hand, are disproportionately likely to have the kind of brain able to overcome these cognitive biases and see where the policy which appeals to "empathy" and "solidarity" will be counterproductive to these ends. This overlaps (although is not identical) with the kind of brain that is often described as "on the autism spectrum" and in particular the higher functioning regions thereof. Whilst MacLean is justified in suspecting a lot of us are "on the spectrum" at least to some degree, her implication that this is a reason to dismiss libertarian economics is arguably the opposite of the truth.
    4 points
  10. Greetings all, This will be my first and only post on OL. Ted lead a compartmentalized and complicated life. My being here has crossed a circle that he kept private. At one extreme, he was a loving Uncle, excited to share all the joys of life with his nephews and niece. At the other, he could be bitter and angry, throwing darts at targets that may not have been the intended recipients, but were instead opportunistic proxies for an unknown true target. He suffered with demons that I hope have lost their grip now that his spirit has departed this plane. I will not dwell on the sorrow of it all. Rather, in true "Ted" fashion, I will share that which made Ted happy. Simply put, Ted loved books. He read more than anyone I know and if the local library were a for-profit business, they'd have lost money on him. His interests spanned everything from proto-indo-European trees to Heinlein, Thomas Aquinas, and Uralic languages. Just prior to his passing he was learning American Sign Language. He shared his love of books with my children, his nephews and niece. Upon his passing, the kids donated money to the library and asked that they purchase books on snakes, rocks, mythology, languages, science fiction, Doctor Who, and Ayn Rand. Ted loved the woods and found great joy in collecting remnants of deer and other creatures and teaching the kids to bleach the bones. I now have a collection that looks like something out of a natural history museum. Ted loved rocks (especially geodes) pecan pie, old movies, and building couch forts. He had a vast and encyclopedic collection of music. He loved a good joke, like the time he would hold telemarketers on the line and tell them off in Russian. He loved his own past, learning about his Carpatho-Rusyn heritage. Ted enjoyed unconventional horticulture, nursing poinsettias between seasons and propagating opuntia from the dunes of NJ (I now have some in my garden). He loved to argue. He loved Legos. Ted loved the Szechuan Garlic Chicken at our favorite Chinese Restaurant and following it up with a Hacker-Pschorr. May this parting bit hopefully bring a smile...He was buried with a copy of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology minus a few pages from which the kids crafted origami boats and sent off some honorary ashes downstream where he often wandered. - With Love, Ted's Sister.
    4 points
  11. As the kids today might say, "Imma stop you right there..." Pacifism. "The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative. If some 'pacifist' society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it." [“The Nature of Government,” VOS, 146; pb 108.] Ayn Rand; Harry Binswanger. The Ayn Rand lexicon: objectivism from A to Z (Kindle Locations 7074-7076). Meridian.
    3 points
  12. I cannot speak from experience (to your disappointment I am sure), but there is a certain consistency with those who are consumed with a hatred for everything on earth including themselves to be eminently satisfied, in fact proudly self-martyred (so to speak) with that kind of self-hatred. How else can a culture of small envious people who vilify the rich or successful arise without a hatred of the good for being good... and hence at least partly... the archetype of that small wrinkled hating thing hating those good parts of the psyche within. The Canadian Liberal and the NDP might be already be worse than the Marxist-leftist wing of the US Democratic party, but darn it of those Yanks aren't doin' their dangdest to out Marx them Socialist Canucks. Any neighbor who would say "please", "sorry", and "thank you" to your face, but would have no quandry robbing you blind in your sleep to keep their party's corrupt politicians in power, squashing your right to free speech, or forcing you to risk your life with mediocre state run healthcare or at least trying to guilt you into not "jumping the queue" (as if one exists) by seeking healthcare in a freer country.. The little tyrant next door, might smile at you in the street, but would grin at the chance to have you shackled and cowed by her leftist strong men. I need not list them, they are legion. I do not know you personally, but perhaps You might have seen that tyrant in the mirror, if you ever had the secret wish to force others against their will, not because they violated anyone else's rights but because you wanted to see them suffer, because you wanted to equalize their success with other's failures, you wanted to violate the rights of those innocent not because of their incompetence and disability but because of their competence and ability, because you wanted to knock them down a notch or two, for being successful... because you wanted to eat the rich, and strike out at the good for being the good, because you wanted to lash out in your own shame... or perhaps you no longer see that tyrant in the mirror, or indeed, perhaps in fact, you are one of the lucky few who never saw it. Trust me, as a person raised in a mixed economy, semi-socialist state, rife with a culture of altruism, and dominated by progressive education over the last 5 decades, I indeed was one of those tyrants in the mirror and next door. Now I know better. I see what you did there with the politeness.... quite funny. I observe that the statement I have heard: "Canadians are polite, but Americans are friendly", as an aphorism is quite true, very much, most of the time. Not all Canadian politicians are as I allude to above, THIS guy can actually be quite impressive from time to time:
    3 points
  13. The January 6 incursion into the Capitol building wasn’t "an act of insurrection," and I wouldn’t even call the actions of the infiltrators who did such damage as was done a "riot." Planned theatrics. The incursion was: 1. a trap for the genuine Trump supporters who entered the building with the permission of the guards; 2. a ploy to derail consideration of objections to electoral slates; 3. a set-up for Pelosi to bring impeachment charges against Trump. Ellen
    3 points
  14. Karen er... Carol, What do you think about the manly man and socialist good-old-boy with his CNN badge of distinction who wants to get into his date's panties so much, he brags to her about how CNN is running a phony propaganda campaign to take out Gaetz? Is your idea of the opposite of Matt Gaetz--specifically an amoral fratboy type with dead, mean eyes and the glee in getting noticed, no matter for what., in other words, an entitled idiot, and not too bright a one at that--our formidable CNN dork who tried to brag his way into the sack with his project Veritas date about what a badass he was? Look closely because that's what the modern adult elite socialist male looks like. Scratch any one of them and that's what you get. It sure is a pretty picture, ain't it? Enough to make one develop seething admiration... Michael
    3 points
  15. Objectivist leaders: Something has gone wrong when some Objectivist leaders accept the idea of supposed free trade that includes trade with tyrants, for example, trade with Kantians, Pragmatists, Muslim Iran, or Communist China. There is no free trade with tyrants which operate according to the principle of force and not by the principle of individual rights. Free trade, individual rights, and private property are not possible in dealings with tyrannical individuals or governments. Perhaps not even possible with Objectivist leaders who endorse trade with tyrants or advocates of same, including with sympathetic American politicians or claimed Objectivists. The fundamental ethical principle of Objectivism is rights, including individual rights and property rights. Objectivist leaders who support tyrannical governments by endorsing what the claimed Objectivists call free trade, including trade with tyrants, have lost the central ideas of of Objectivism. I am greatly disappointed to find that some Objectivist leaders have uncritically endorsed their support of tyrannies by means of what they claim to be free trade. Free trade, incidentally, is the action demonstration of individual rights and property rights. If you trade with those who oppose rights you yourself are denying rights. Shall I say more? Ralph Hertle
    3 points
  16. A big difference between elitists doing crud in other countries and their doing it here is the Americans (the real ones) of whom there are still an abundant number in this country's populace. American ingenuity and spirit going against elitist crooks is a whole ‘nuther thing from populaces used to being ruled by "superiors" trying to rebel. Ellen
    3 points
  17. The "conspiracy theory advocate" label for people who see it is being ramped up to "domestic terrorist." Ellen
    3 points
  18. I have literally no idea what the letter who shall not be named is/was/could be/have been, but the spark I refuse to let die is the recognition that so much in the world right now is 'just not right' and that sparks draws up some anger when I feel as if no one else can see It or fails to call it out. That was always the thing that initially drew me to nameless letter the allegory of righteousness , bold righteousness in the face of all this shit.
    3 points
  19. You can't let these at war with us folks off the hook with libertarian property rights theory because we are on a de facto war footing. We Are At War. --Brant
    3 points
  20. Michael, everyone, Notice, too, the Pence-Ryan email exchange linked to from the letter: https://files.constantcontact.com/899f3f04701/106dc3d3-c645-4215-bdd3-addad65bade2.pdf Ellen
    3 points
  21. ThatGuy, Since World War II the U.S. has been in a new phase of degradation to which Rand was pretty much oblivious. Socialism vs. Capitalism, Left vs. Right, Liberal vs. Conservative is now just entertainment, like television wrestling, hiding venal, thieving, murdering Mafia-like corruption. It makes “taxing the rich” or “robbing Peter to pay Paul” look good. I wrote “pretty much” because once in a while Rand would acknowledge that something more sinister than differences in political philosophy was going on. The only example I can think of at the moment is when, in an essay, she entertained the possibility that Marilyn Monroe had been murdered (for knowing too much about the crowd she was running around with at the time, though Rand didn’t say that). Leonard Peikoff hosted a radio show in the late 90s. Trying to make the above point, here’s what I emailed to him when he asked for topics to discuss (he didn’t use it). The quality of my writing has improved, I think, since back then. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Aug 6, 1998 *Choose your issues* My two choices are related, so first here's the common idea. In years past, however unconstitutional and extreme the violation of our rights, laws were passed and adhered to do it -- a pro forma chipping away of freedom. America was heading toward a totalitarian state -- in a genteel manner. No longer. We're graduating into a more mature stage of fascism. Besides the pretense of respect for the rule of law we now have outright gangsterism and thuggery. Here are my two choices: 1. The unbelievable corruption within the U.S. Department of Justice. The HUD and the savings and loan scandals, to give just two examples, were all made possible by crooked judges. None of the major perpetrators went to prison, only lesser figures or even innocent fall guys. Whistleblowers, insiders who try to expose the corruption, risk being sent to prison on false charges. Rodney Stich has written several books on corruption within the government, after experiencing it first hand. The thing to be done about it now is to make the corruption known. Then dishonest judges must be punished and replaced with honest ones. (By the way, Stein & Day, the first publisher of your -- LP's --first book, was robbed of all its assets by the corrupt Chapter 11 system. Sol Stein wrote a book about it entitled *A Feast for Lawyers*.) 2. The voluntary news blackout of the mainstream media. On some subjects a government censor could hardly do a better job. And when not a blackout it's often a dimout. This is well known to those who are interested in current affairs, thanks to those bright lights the alternative press, talk radio, and the Internet. But ask the average joe about the Vince Foster murder, the execution style murder of Mary Caitrin Mahoney -- Georgetown Starbucks cafe manager and former White House Intern, the evidence of a missile shoot down of TWA flight 800, FBI foreknowledge of [now I would say participation in] the Oklahoma City bombing, etc. and you get a blank stare.
    3 points
  22. Maybe Trump will pardon Assange on Christmas Day. Ellen
    3 points
  23. I like Lin Wood a lot. "Onward, Christian soldiers...." I don’t care a damn that he's a flaming Christian. I like his fervor and resoluteness and direct on-pointedness. And, fact is, a high percentage of the core Americans who support Trump and who won’t put up with the fraud or accept a "Great Reset" American future are Christians. Ellen
    3 points
  24. Its a good attitude to have. Its something I'd tell my son. Mannerisms in my written way of communicating are different than my internal methodologies. When the score has me down to my opponent I haven't lost. Not while I can mount an offense. Do I deal with my morale? Of course. Its part of regaining an edge. What you said "I am so pissed at them I could spit." resonates. It is personal. Though making others targets of my animosity doesn't improve my chances of winning anything. I have so little mental space to waste on an outcome, on an occupation for feeling as if I've gained traction in a battle I can't win. So I choose battles personal to me. Making break throughs in playing guitar. Preparing my way to winning another tournament. And I bring all the fire and determination to these things that you bring to yours. I hear you. That's the reason I come to Objectivist Living. I don't come to hear you've thrown in the towel. It always good news hearing an opponent has been outed for cheating. https://theamericanconservatives.net/attention-trump-campaign-green-party-candidate-jill-stein-won-groundbreaking-case-in-october-gives-campaign-right-to-examine-voting-machine-source-code/
    3 points
  25. Have you guys been watching the press trying to frame President Trump with the white supremacy thing? Let's start with the end first, then look at the idiot press. Here is just one compilation among many out there where Trump has disavowed white supremacy, including in the debate two days ago. Also, look at Chris Wallace in the 2016 election. Note that this video is impossible to find doing a simple YouTube search. YouTube and others do not want you to see this. So you can only find it on posts of others who embed it. Compare that to Chris Wallace asking the same goddam question in the 2020 debate a couple of days ago. And just look at the NBC title. As a snafu on the dorks, they kept in Biden saying Antifa is an idea, not an organization. Now, today there was a White House press briefing with Kayleigh McEnany. John Roberts of Fox News showed his ass in the briefing even worse than Chris Wallace showed his ass in the debate. Look what poor little control freak John Roberts had to say when a huge backlash from his audience hit him hard. Poor baby. I didn't know he was part of the Deep State, but there it is. To add icing to that cake, John Roberts' own wife, who works at ABC news, reported President Trump denounces white supremacy. Here is what the Deep State melting down really looks like. (Image from here. I didn't embed the tweet because Twitter might take it down.) For those who want to see the painful part of the press conference, here is a video: Other reporters were doing that shit, too. The audiences of these assholes are telling them straight up to stop the idiocy, yet they keep on. They are no longer fooling their audiences and they still keep on like zombies. Rush Limbaugh reported on this today. McEnany Handles Unprofessional Press Corps on White Supremacy Crap Here is part of the text to the John Roberts part. (Rush left Roberts' first question out, but he was the one who asked the question that prompted Kayleigh's first answer below. It basically asked--in an obnoxious overly condescending manner--for Kayleigh to denounce white supremacy in Trump's name.) I have lost all respect for John Roberts. Fuck him. If I am watching TV and he comes on, I am going to change the channel. Just like I do for Chris Wallace most of the time. In fact, I no longer watch Fox like I used to. Michael
    3 points
  26. I didn’t watch the video. As you know, I rarely watch videos. I'll take your word for it that the material is choke-upping. What I signed on to comment about was Trump's "Thank you, I will never let you down!" He means it. He's fully out to give his all for decent Americans. I think it's the deep sincerity of his commitment which is why the leftists keep accusing him of being a liar. I think that they sense that he means it and the sincerity terrifies them. You went on to add the material after "btw" while I was signing in. I don't know, Michael, about your statement "The anti-Trump people just don't see him. They don't believe he exists." They don't understand him (I'm assuming what he is from your getting choked up). But I suspect that their awareness that such people do exist is part of their terror. Ellen
    3 points
  27. The way I see it, if that certain someone was mocking me with a “haha” I was doing something right...
    3 points
  28. Deanna, I agree with the random video part. But how about a steady stream of videos glorifying Satanism and porn? That is in the culture. Haven't you noticed? Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion merely put a super-production on one. There was nothing random about it. (As I mentioned when I talked about tapping into the cultural zeitgeist.) Besides, why is this either-or? Does criticizing a video for potential damage make a claim that bad relationships are not a factor? Let me see. Hmmm... No. It doesn't. I agree with this, but with qualifications. 1. I think the steady stream of videos--not just random videos--reflects something, too. 2. Once again, here's the either-or thing on something that is not either-or. Why is a music video only a reflection and not a cause at the same time? In your opinion, is it that our brains can't chew gum and walk at the same time? (I mean cause both to happen? ) Paul Ekman and his people discovered how pleasant and unpleasant isolating and mapping facial muscles to expressions of emotions could get. One mainstream opinion at the time he started was that (1) an emotion is felt, then (2) a body reaction occurs. Not the contrary. As Ekman and company worked in front of mirrors on their own faces to isolate and map and see what that looked like, they discovered that purposely articulating muscles used in negative emotions caused them to feel these negative emotions. Ditto for positive. So if they were in a bad mood and they started working on the facial muscles predominantly used in positive emotions, their mood would lighten up a lot. And vice-versa. It's not either-or. Felt emotions cause facial muscles to articulate an expression. But articulating an emotional expression and holding if for a while causes the emotion to be felt. If you're feeling happy, you smile. If you're feeling, say, grumpy and you plaster a smile on your face and keep it in place, pretty soon you start feeling happy. It may not last depending on how intensely grumpy you are, but it does happen that way. That process happens with music and culture in general, too. Sometime a bad mentality in an individual (whatever the reason) causes bad intensely-felt cultural choices and sometimes a bad emotionally charged culture causes said individual to make bad choices and develop a bad mentality. Both can happen at the same time and in the same individual. Michael
    3 points
  29. The Smithsonian Promotes Pure Toxic Racism You have to see this to believe it. It's almost out of an Ayn Rand novel. At least this boneheaded spiteful chapter in The Smithsonian is getting bashed by lots and lots of people. Here's an article that gives an overview: Byron York's Daily Memo: 'Whiteness' and the National Museum of African American History and Culture The chart mentioned in the last paragraph is the cause of the storm. Before I show it, The Smithsonian's site took it down. Here is the webpage where it used to be. Whiteness Now here is the chart they took down. There is only one way to respond to trash like that. And Charlie Kirk did it, much to the surprise of Shannon Bream, who was trying to do her Trojan Horse gig of treating garbage as the equivalent of facts, but having a real hard time selling this particular pile of shit. Charlie outright called Leslie Marshall a racist in a tone of deep anger for defending it. Leslie, poor thing, is used to calling conservatives racist. She's not used to the racist label landing on her face like a pie. And it showed. I think the bullshit was too much even for Shannon. She wanted to sell sell the party line in a way that advances the Overton Window like she is paid to do, but this was too much. So she did the best she could at pretending pure toxic racism was a reasonable argument that should be examined in a "fair and balanced" way. But her heart wasn't in it. She just wanted it to be over. She allowed Leslie to bark back at Charlie, but Leslie sounded condescending and infantile and weirdly insecure. Shannon looked so relieved when it ended. Shannon should take a lesson from Charlie. The way Charlie did it is the only way to do it. Call evil evil. That Smithsonian poster could have easily been part of the text of "Why Do You Think You Think?" in Atlas Shrugged. Michael
    3 points
  30. Wow, that one seventeen year old basement troglodyte really got under Twatter's skin. All four hundred pounds of ze.
    3 points
  31. Frankly I think we have entertained the irrational and fear-frozen among us for way too long. It is time to take life back. No more forced face diapers and closed schools. The frightened can stay indoors indefinitely if they want, but they have no right to shut the rest of our lives down and we are not going to take it much longer.
    3 points
  32. Lo and behold, just days after Berman's being taken out, SDNY's case against Jeffrey Epstein's child victim procurer Ghislaine Maxwell finally proceeds after having been sat on for years. https://jonathanturley.org/2020/07/02/epstein-confidante-maxwell-arrested-in-new-hampshire/
    3 points
  33. And Gates. And WHO. And everyone else involved in the scheme. I'm very angry about the deaths from this "dastardly plot." I'm thinking of those who died as war casualties. Ellen
    3 points
  34. The pandemics in 1957 and then again in 1968 killed roughly 100k Americans each, they were influenza viruses , I don't know of any societal wide reactions that match this one. Did we flatten a curve ? Or do curves just do what curves do? It doesn't seem like lockdowns did much other than economic damage. I mean pandemics suck , but yeah they suck. Hurricanes suck too . ? It's starting to really feel like we've been played , no ?
    3 points
  35. Classic Objectivism absolutely opposes anti-trust. What wasn't addressed back then was State charted, created, sponsored corporations. There are 50 States. Where is there the room for public corporations in the ideologic rubric of libertarianism/Objectivism or in Randianism, if you will? Basically corporations are facets of economic fascism written large by today's social media. Hit them with anti-trust as a necessary stopgap. --Brant
    3 points
  36. The single greatest advance in medicine was the germ theory of disease. It's precursor was smallpox vaccination. There is no handling flu with vaccine, just the pretense, but the pretense is a horse to ride into good doing the world. I'd never get a flu shot. The virus mutates too much too quickly. Money is a road to power. These money men, ironically, are being controlled and used by people who live in all ways high on the hogs. They aren't after a virus, but you and me through nation state destruction and globalization. Above all they must all belong to the same fraternity. If Bill Gates were a true hero he'd go after malaria with DDT advocacy. --Brant
    3 points
  37. Michael, Ghate is not stupid, true. What's been irritating to me is that while ARI authors show their expertise when they mostly stick with pure Objectivist theories, and finding new ways to re-present them - they are singularly poor at applying theory to reality (or, as you say, applying reality to the ideas, rationalistically). And to top it off, prescribing their own judgments to other O'ists with Randian authority. Surely: Identify the entire situation as it is as a conceptual whole. While also keeping high standards in mind, not what it ~should be~ in an imagined, future perfect world. Where's context? What is the hierarchy of values here? Do actions and positive results matter less than airy words, style or sweet delivery? (Kant's - the noble intention, above all - comes to mind) What is the moral character emerging under pressure (and not the conventionally conformist 'character' - the public and media persona) of the actor(s)? This is after all, raw politics, and as it's been turning out, at its low-down dirtiest, anyone in and out of the US can see. One sees a sort of naivete when ARI Objectivists, going back to Peikoff, come down to the real world, so I'm not so certain there're other motives like financial gain/power involved. Maybe. But they do sound sincere. Perhaps it is all about making Objectivism "relevant". When you've ( I think it was Elan Journo, also generally a good thinker) predicted "a Trump dictatorship" - when hardly had he entered Office - and you now see you were wrong, damn, have the grace to admit your bad judgment and personal dislike in another article.
    3 points
  38. There's an overwhelming over-abundance of more than enough information. And that's just in any single frame of the video. Consider all of the content of all of the frames, and there are multiple, layered, redundant means of determining whether or not any entity, attribute, action or effect seen in any frame conforms to reality. The space, the objects within it, and the motions are all precisely measurable. Then add all of the visual information from other cameras at other vantage points... Each participant on this thread who has commented on the visual evidence is right about some things, yet wrong about others. The issue is not that the visual evidence is insufficient, but that none of you has the technical knowledge to be making any conclusions, or to be dismissing anyone else's observations or concerns, or to be throwing accusations of kookiness or conspiracy theorizing at anyone who thinks that something in a photo looks a bit odd. J
    3 points
  39. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-milkyway-over-beaverhill-county-jestephotography-ltd.html Something a lil different than my Wildlife photography. Nikon Z7 mirrorless with a Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 Art series lens for Astrophotography.
    3 points
  40. Ted (in) Lieu (of fill in the blank) pulled out his cell phone and on the Congressional record called Candace Owens a ****er lover. I saw it !
    3 points
  41. William, rumors of Bill Dwyer's demise have been greatly exaggerated! ;-) I don't know who Mary Ann is or was, but Bill is still going strong at age 78. Dennis
    3 points
  42. And I'm not too proud to admit that I started leaning into the corners by the end of the second vid. J
    3 points
  43. out of the mouths of , you know, what you call those very young uneducated beings...you know the quote, but under no circumstances could one call Jan Letendre a babe. However , that charming Billyboy has more class than nearly everyone we know, is indeed wisdom, and worth any amount of baked goods.
    3 points
  44. Thanks for noticing, Max. It’s easy for me, to be honest. I don’t mind stupid, it doesn’t rub me the wrong way at all. It’s only when snippy gets added to stupid that I have to explode or walk away. I have, without any doubt, much more patience than most everyone here. I substitute taught elementary school for five years. Classroom teacher, gym, art, music, librarian, special needs - I filled every position in the district’s elementary schools except Principal. I raised two daughters from infancy, was the at-home parent and they’re getting (almost) straight As in high school now.
    3 points
  45. “I'm a bit confused, so are you saying that the news about packages targeting the Obamas, Clintons, and others is fake news and a false flag? If so, then why does Trump say the packages exist?” Oh boy. Someone doesn’t even know what a false flag is.
    3 points
  46. I don't want to talk about it. --Brant
    3 points
  47. Amen to that. McCain-Feingold in particular, which led to the Citizens United case. As to the rest, all I wanted to establish was that he did "something more than getting captured and held prisoner of war for years", no matter how we project what his motives at the time were. He made a choice, and (hard to believe I'm about to type this) it was something comparable to John Galt advising his captors how to fix their torture machine.
    3 points
  48. While I was no fan of McCain qua politician, and regard his prisoner-of-war heroism as misdirected, the story bears reviewing. This comes from David Foster Wallace's piece on McCain from 2000. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/david-foster-wallace-on-john-mccain-the-weasel-twelve-monkeys-and-the-shrub-194272/ But there’s something underneath politics in the way you have to hear McCain, something riveting and unSpinnable and true. It has to do with McCain’s military background and Vietnam combat and the five-plus years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison, mostly in solitary, in a box, getting tortured and starved. And the unbelievable honor and balls he showed there. It’s very easy to gloss over the POW thing, partly because we’ve all heard so much about it and partly because it’s so off-the-charts dramatic, like something in a movie instead of a man’s life. But it’s worth considering for a minute, because it’s what makes McCain’s “causes greater than self-interest” line easier to hear. You probably already know what happened. In October of ’67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and flying his 23rd Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, which ejection broke both McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies right over Hanoi. Try to imagine for a second how much this would hurt and how scared you’d be, three limbs broken and falling toward the enemy capital you just tried to bomb. His chute opened late and he landed hard in a little lake in a park right in the middle of downtown Hanoi, Imagine treading water with broken arms and trying to pull the life vest’s toggle with your teeth as a crowd of Vietnamese men swim out toward you (there’s film of this, somebody had a home-movie camera, and the N.V. government released it, though it’s grainy and McCain’s face is hard to see). The crowd pulled him out and then just about killed him. U.S. bomber pilots were especially hated, for obvious reasons. McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Plus by this time his right knee was bent 90-degrees to the side with the bone sticking out. Try to imagine this. He finally got tossed on a jeep and taken five blocks to the infamous Hoa Lo prison – a.k.a. the “Hanoi Hilton,” of much movie fame – where they made him beg a week for a doctor and finally set a couple of the fractures without anesthetic and let two other fractures and the groin wound (imagine: groin wound) stay like they were. Then they threw him in a cell. Try for a moment to feel this. All the media profiles talk about how McCain still can’t lift his arms over his head to comb his hair, which is true. But try to imagine it at the time, yourself in his place, because it’s important. Think about how diametrically opposed to your own self-interest getting knifed in the balls and having fractures set without painkiller would be, and then about getting thrown in a cell to just lie there and hurt, which is what happened. He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant’s office and offered to let him go. This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain’s father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces (which is true – both his father and grandfather were admirals), and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused, The U.S. military’s Code of Conduct for Prisoners of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order they were captured, and there were others who’d been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code. The commandant, not pleased, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs. And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a “punishment cell.” Maybe you’ve heard all this before; it’s been in umpteen different media profiles of McCain. But try to imagine that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? It so, would you have refused to go? You simply can’t know for sure. None of us can. It’s hard even to imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you’d react. But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts. But the point is that with McCain it feels like we know, for a proven fact, that he’s capable of devotion to something other, more, than his own self-interest. So that when he says the line in speeches in early February you can feel like maybe it isn’t just more candidate bullshit, that with this guy it’s maybe the truth. Or maybe both the truth and bullshit: the guy does – did – want your vote, after all.
    3 points
  49. That's what it says at the top of the page. Your point? It's not like this thread has devolved into a medley of cat videos. Yet.
    3 points
  50. I hope my posts get a lot of sads (from the anti-Trump bitches!)
    3 points