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    Mayor Bowser is attempting to evict the National Guard that’s protecting Washington, DC, from the hotels they stay in at night. Trump says if she keeps up with her shit then they will be replaced by police of the various Executive Branch agencies such as the Justice and State Departments and military, under his direct command. The fascists are planning to overrun the White House. Don’t get too upset if it happens. It is not real. If it happens it will only be because he allowed it to happen — they can’t really overrun him or anything of his, but they may be allowed to. Such an event would wake up more people to the danger we are in. A necessary scare event, like if it were to say, burn down. It would sharpen focus and help people understand why President Trump is going to have use all the powers of the Executive to protect the People and the Republic.
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    This country is in a state of fulmination. --Brant I expect to see beautiful things before I die--the secondary death of the now zombie left that left is intellectually and morally dead RIGHT NOW Ayn Rand didn't know half of what she was up against, but she still had the left by the balls
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    Oh my... don’t fill me with false hopes like that. A living example to explode so many of the false narratives in identity politics and a sane voice to reject socialism and encourage right thinking (up to a point) ?? That really would be awesome!
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    OK, somebody's got to say it. The Washington Post really likes stores being trashed and looted during riots, right? The Washington Post really likes people being afraid to go to stores right? The Washington Post is owned by Amazon, right? I'll let you put two and two together and see what you come up with. Michael
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    I have been watching Tim Pool's evolution from left to right due to his daily disillusionment with the fake news media. To be more exact, it's from a ruling class left-leaning establishment view (which looked like grass roots to Tim) to a more Trump-like view, even though he says he's not all in with Trump. Tim's problem is that he fact-checks the media against actual facts and against what they said in the recent past. And he keeps seeing the same dishonesty, blatant lies, wrong reporting and propaganda over and over. He proves it--both to himself and to the public. He has now hit a point where he said his heart is broken. Maybe there is a universal truth here. It's the redemption story, the hero's journey version. You must kill off your old self before the new one can emerge. You must let go of being a child before you can become an adult. When such a change is due to disillusionment and not growth, it's like divorcing your values. And what results from a divorce? A broken heart. I feel for Tim, but I certainly admire his integrity. He's going to be OK. He got rid of an abuser in his life and his co-dependency is ending. It hurts like hell, but it's a healthy step. Just like growth toward adulthood is. Michael
  7. 2 points
    T, There's another possibility. The riots might be Stage 2 with the coronavirus being Stage 1. And in that case, I wonder what the other stages are going to be until November. Michael
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    Michael, I do share your optimism and enthusiasm about what the future could look/ be like with people like Candace in it. This still IS America, the narrative that it is over or even that America was never a shining city on a hill is false. I suppose my pessimism stems from the bridge laying/knee bending supplicants and what some may do to prove their fealty to the "cause". T
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    T, I doubt it. I think it's quite plausible she will be the first female President of the USA in a couple of decades or more.. Michael
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    Candace is awesome , she is courageous and intellectually rigorous, do we need to be fearful for her ?
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    This. The video is embedded from Facebook and I haven't figured out how to make it smaller yet. George Floyd had a long rap sheet. Including invading the house of a pregnant woman at gunpoint and holding her hostage as his cohorts ransacked her house, And including many stints in the joint. Also, he was a serious druggy. Candace doesn't think he needed to die, but she is sick at heart that this guy is being held up as a black hero in the press and by many in the black community. He wasn't. He was a small time criminal. Michael
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    Rush Limbaugh said something that just cracked me up. He said President Trump holding the Bible up in front of the church had the same effect on the fake news media as old time movies where someone would hold up a cross to Count Dracula. LOL... Michael
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    I'm thinking that the riot fomenters are miscalculating and handing Trump a plus just when he needs one to distract from (varied) discontents over his handling of COVID-19 response. Ellen
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    MSNBC is getting help in fake and misleading shit, too. This is what Drudge has turned into (screenshot from just now): Hitler-like propaganda. There. I said it. Hitler. But Godwin's Law doesn't really apply because I doubt Goebbels, as evil and skilled at it as he was, would have ever dreamed of getting away with this level of nonstop crap in his own propaganda. Michael
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    Jon, Here. I did a screenshot. Michael
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    So was it that Plan A didn't work ? Take away the freedoms and livelihoods of the low, mid and mid-class( the 'deplorables') to foment insurrection? Only instead they used civil disobedience to force a return to civility and normalcy. So they resorted to inciting the rabble, exploiting the networks that infest the cultural left? Did they miscalculate ? Did they think the deplorables would join ? It's more than heartening to see the people in Minneapolis return to the riot scene the next day armed with brooms and shovels , I hope they keep returning and I hope they come back armed and ready to take out the Bolsheviks.
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    (You have to ask, rhetorically: whose life is it, anyway?) Encouraging that everywhere there are minds which are free and aware like Dr. Vosloo. What stuns me still, is how quickly masses of people submitted to the blanket measures 'advised' by the WHO and enforced by various governments, those many who self-righteously turn on fellow citizens for not submitting as easily. Not to say that one doesn't take personal precautions depending on one's risk factors and/or protect others close to one. Not to say that a few govt's have not been reluctant to impose and ready to lift the authoritarian edicts. They are evidently the free-er ones. To the billions of other people who are healthy, are they and their lives and livelihoods - life, itself, the human necessity for "self-generated, self-directed action" - to be sacrificed for the few? They have already, many will not recover their life as it was.
  18. 1 point
    Just a Thought on A and D In 1969, Ayn Rand presented a lecture to the Ford Hall Forum that later became a chapter in The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, which was changed after her death into The Return of the Primitive. Apollo and Dionysus She compared the Apollo 11 moon landing to the Woodstock music festival as examples of two concrete manifestations of opposing philosophical premises. Today we are seeing the same dichotomy, except in a different manner. Today, we had SpaceX: Trump applauds SpaceX launch as 'inspiration for our country' And we also had riots, looting and mob violence in several cities. Trump vows to stop 'mob violence' amid riots over George Floyd death The riots and mayhem were orchestrated and paid for by leftwing people (most of the rioters arrested are not from the cities where they occur), but the Dionysian sense of life and philosophy are not present in the streets like in Rand's Woodstock example. They are present in the fake news mainstream media coverage of them and pretense that these are grass roots demonstrations. The themes are the same, the events are different. Albeit, today, the Dionysian part is a celebration of senseless violence against peaceful innocent people instead of music, sex and drugs under the open sky. But look where our president is. President Trump is dealing with both. And he's doing it well. It's almost like the spirit of the philosopher entered into the politician all these years later. Michael
  19. 1 point
    Thanks for reposting the excerpts from Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder. I meant to buy that and forgot. I just ordered it. Ellen
  20. 1 point
    Here are a few more moldy oldies. Oh, my. Ain’t I boored? Wow. Ghs wrote for Newsday. Peter From: John Hospers To: movies wetheliving Subject: MOV: Chaplin Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 12:49:23 -0800 Esp. to Richard Allen: No, Rand didn't care for the 'silent comedians'. Several times in our conversations the topic of Chaplin came up - all negative. At first I thought that his political leftism was the main issue - that along with his preference for girls a generation 'too young' for him. These all had an influence on her low estimate of Chaplin. But the main thing was his art, not his life: it was repellent to her that Chaplin celebrated (or seemed to) the 'hero' as helpless victim, not in charge of his fate but being buffeted about on the whims of circumstance, always reacting but not initiating action. She didn't find his antics cute or even funny. Not only did she dislike 'Modern Times' as an indictment of capitalism, she found his parody on Hitler in 'The Great Dictator' (after the 'little tramp' had been abandoned) unworthy of even a single smile. From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: The original version of my op-ed Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 15:28:07 -0600. I located the original version of my op-ed on the "Newsday" website. As you can see, they published a longer version (e.g., they included the Jefferson quote) than what I previously posted from "The Oregonian." It was also given a different title. (I had no idea that an op-ed might be further edited when picked up by another source.) Ghs http://thephilosophe.com Atheists Tune in 'God Bless America' By George H. Smith George H. Smith is the author of three books on atheism, including "Atheism: The Case Against God." October 30, 2001. A TRAGEDY of the dimensions of Sept. 11 can bring a search for scapegoats in its wake. On the political left we find some who blame the supposed evils of "global capitalism," while on the political right we find some who blame the godlessness of American society. Although the particulars differ, both camps suggest that the victims were complicit, whether directly or indirectly, in their own destruction. And thus is any concept of authentic innocence swept aside. The Cold War is a thing of the past, so the religious right can no longer target godless communism as the source of our woes. The terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 massacre were not atheists at all but religious fundamentalists of the most extreme type, so the blame is placed on domestic rather than on foreign godlessness. If it is true that Americans put their differences aside in a time of crisis and rally around their common values, this might help to explain the recent proliferation of "God Bless America" signs and banners throughout America. It might be supposed that Americans are returning to those religious values on which this nation was founded. There are several problems with this interpretation, however, not the least of which is that America was specifically established as a secular nation, not a religious one. There is no mention of "God" in the Constitution. And when Thomas Jefferson mentioned God in the Declaration of Independence, he was referring to the God of deism – that rationalistic creator, popular during the 18th-century Enlightenment, who did not communicate with human beings or otherwise intervene in human affairs. Many of America's most influential founding fathers - such as Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine - were deists highly critical of Christianity and other revealed religions. Paine (whose pamphlet "Common Sense" was the sparkplug of the American Revolution) claimed that "the most detestable wickedness, and the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion." And Jefferson followed suit with his observation that the God of the Old Testament "is a being of terrific character - cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." Paine, Jefferson and other deists lamented the intolerance and persecution that were common features in the history of Christianity, Islam and other revealed religions. In their view, people who believe they have an infallible lock on divine revelation will often feel justified in using violence and terror against dissenters and unbelievers. Reason, not faith, is the philosophical foundation of a free and tolerant society. Atheists are a distinct minority in our society, so we might wonder how American atheists react to the "God Bless America" signs, posters and banners that seem to have popped up everywhere. Do atheists feel excluded by this outpouring of religious sentiment? Do they feel they are being told that only those who believe in God can be good Americans? I recently posed this latter question to a large group of atheists on the Internet, and their responses were nearly unanimous. Virtually no atheist felt in the least troubled or excluded by the public enthusiasm for "God Bless America" - so long, that is, as such expressions were by private citizens and not sponsored by government. Although this reaction may surprise some people, it is identical to my own. For many people, "God Bless America" is not so much about religion per se; rather, it expresses a deep, heartfelt sentiment for American ideals and values, which were gravely threatened on Sept. 11. Just as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so meaning lies in the intent of the speaker. And in most cases the sentimental intent of "God Bless America" is something with which I and most every other American atheist can heartily agree. It so happens that "God Bless America" is the title of a beautiful and inspirational song by Irving Berlin, and this undoubtedly helps to explain why this expression tugs at the heartstrings of so many Americans. The song and its title have become part of American culture. Only the most jaded atheist could fail to appreciate what these have come to symbolize - namely, a tribute to this land and the best in those who inhabit it. Some religious believers may take great pleasure in the exclusionary implications of "God Bless America," as if atheists are somehow less than legitimate members of American society. But for me tolerance and understanding are part of being an atheist, so I refuse to judge a belief on the basis of its worst representatives. I will therefore continue to judge the recent popularity of "God Bless America" in the most benevolent light possible. I will take it for what I believe most Americans intend it to be: a tribute to the ideals of freedom and tolerance on which America was founded. Copyright © 2001, Newsday, Inc. "I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man, made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius that they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body." - Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead." From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Reply to Jeff Olson, Part Two (was Locke's Lament and Other Imponderables [from JeffO]) Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 05:24:20 -0600 [This is a continuation of my first response to Jeff Olson. I have duplicated some quotations in the beginning to set the context.] Jeff wrote: "This idea distills to the proposition that given a particular possible state of knowledge (a state of knowledge *logically* possible, unlike "omniscience"), one could know with certainty how any being will act in the future, without any logical implication whatever of "fate" or "control" attending this knowledge. If my argument is correct, then "Locke's Lament" -- that foreknowledge of the type God must possess is compatible with fate but not freely chosen actions -- is resolved." Good luck, but I would caution against bringing theological arguments into this, for they are a different ball of wax altogether. Jeff wrote: "My proposition is principally derived from the thought-experiment of traveling back in time and observing a repeat of documented past behavior. Regardless of how theoretically free or unfree past behavior is, we will still know exactly how people's actions and other events are going to unfold. A central point is that our knowledge has zero influence over anyone's actions, and implies absolutely nothing about the freeness of these actions." This thought-experiment is irrelevant, because (even assuming it is coherent) the actions you observe have *already* taken place. You know how events are going to unfold because they have previously happened. (It they haven't already happened, then ex hypothesi you have not traveled back in time.) You are observing history first-hand rather than reading about it in a book, but this doesn't change the principle involved, so this thought experiment doesn't help your case. Jeff wrote: "The logical implication is that knowledge per se does not imply "fate," if by fate we mean that our actions are somehow compelled by foreknowledge." This is not the customary meaning of "fate." In any case, we are talking about foreknowledge, not about the backwards-looking knowledge given in your thought experiment. Jeff wrote: "The obvious objection, that this particular knowledge-perspective is unattainable since time-travel is generally presumed to be impossible, does not, I believe, vitiate the argument, which essentially depends on this hypothetical: Given that we found ourselves back in time, what would we be able to predict? Assuming free will, it seems we wouldn't be entitled to predict any human action with certainty, despite our historical knowledge; after all, free will volitionism holds that a person can *always* choose otherwise (through extension, we wouldn't be able to predict any event tied to human activity). All of this depends on whether it is possible for your time traveler to intervene in what he observes and thereby change the past -- in which case it would be the present, not the past, for him and everyone else concerned. If he can, then the future actions of those who were influenced by his intervention will be unpredictable. If he cannot, then the time traveler is doing little more than watching a movie he has seen before and "predicting" the ending. More to the point would be to predict with certainty how a movie will end before it has even been thought of, much less written, produced, edited, etc. I do happen to think that your scenario is logically impossible. I say "logically" because past events no longer exist -- if they did, they would be present events and you would not be engaged in time travel at all -- so there is literally *nothing* to "travel" TO. But, as I have indicated, an equally serious objection to your scenario is that it is beside the point. Knowledge of the past is not analogous to foreknowledge of the future. Past events are historical facts that have already occurred, whereas future events have not yet happened. Jeff wrote: "If George or other "free will volitionists" believe that we can in fact predict behavior given our historical knowledge -- then I would be curious about how they would reconcile this belief with free will. For acknowledging that such individuals would be incapable of changing their historical actions would be tantamount to conceding that human behavior is absolutely determined, and that the only difference between past and future actions is that we have more complete knowledge of the former." As I said, past actions, by definition, have already occurred. They no longer exist, so there is no "there" there to change. Jeff wrote: "But these events have already happened!" I can hear some of your protest. "They're already facts!" You must be clairvoyant. 8-) Jeff wrote: "But is the future any less of a "fact," simply because we don't have complete knowledge of it? Is not a claim about the future either true or false, and thus a fact?" No, the future is not a "fact" because it has not yet happened. Predictions of future events, such as those an astronomer might make about planetary motions, are hypothetical in character. They implicitly assume the form, "If (or given) X, then Y should occur." The "should" is not normative in the usual sense. It refers to a deterministic outcome that presupposes the accuracy of one's present knowledge on which the prediction is based. This is the predictive "if-then" kind of "should" that I discussed in some previous posts -- one that is sometimes expressed as "If (or given) X, then Y *will* (or must) follow as a matter of causal necessity." Even in physically determined outcomes, we don't have knowledge of future "facts" per se, because no such facts yet exist of which we can have knowledge. Rather, we have knowledge of initial conditions and causal laws from which we *infer* future events. Thus, strictly speaking, what we know is not the future qua fact, but what *should* or *must* occur in the future, given our premises and knowledge of causation. Jeff wrote: "Consider the implications if the future is indeed a fact. First, if future events are in fact facts, this doesn't demonstrate, given the correctness of my above argument, that the actors in those events are in any meaningful sense being compelled or otherwise constrained. We may specify any degree or definition of free action, but once the action has occurred, it is undeniable fact. By extension, any action that *will* occur, is also a fact. Therefore, if future events are facts, either freedom is an illusion -- or freedom is itself inapplicable to the actions of conscious beings." Yes, this would follow if the future were a fact, but it is not. A fact refers to that which exists or has existed. The future does not yet exist. If it did, it would be the present or the past, not the future. Jeff wrote: "For it is truly a fact that all beings, insofar as they are alive, must do *something.* Freedom of action is irrelevant to that fact. We are not compelled, then, to take whatever action we take; it is simply a fact, on this account, that we do or do not take it. Freedom has no application, I would argue, to such events; they are simply factual or non-factual." Only that which exists or has existed can be a fact. Predictions are possible or impossible, accurate or inaccurate, reasonable or unreasonable, etc. Exact predictions of physically determined events are possible; exact predictions of human action are not. I need to take a deep breath before writing any more about this. Ghs From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Aristotle's sea-fight (was Locke's Lament and Other Imponderables) Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 12:45:38 -0600 [This is the third and concluding part of my reply to Jeff Olson's original post.] Jeff Olson wrote: "Aristotle wrestled with the question, and apparently decided, Solomon-like, that predictions of future events are *neither* true nor false. But then rumor has it that he was drinking heavily at the time." This problem arises in Aristotle's famous discussion of the sea-fight, which appears in Ch.9 of *On Interpretation.* Here is his summary: "Let me illustrate. A sea-fight must either take place tomorrow or not, but it is not necessary that it should take place tomorrow, neither is it necessary that it should not take place, yet it is necessary that it either should or should not take place tomorrow. Since propositions correspond with facts, it is evident that when in future events there is a real alternative, and a potentiality in contrary directions, the corresponding affirmation and denial have the same character." (Trans. E.M. Edghill, in McKeon, *Basic Works of Aristotle,* p. 48). Aristotle's purpose is to rebut the argument (which may have been proposed by some sophists) that (1) since one of a pair of contradictory statements must be true, and (2) since this rule of logic holds for contradictory statements about the future, it follows that (3) if a statement about a (supposedly) contingent future event (i.e., one that involves deliberation and choice) can be said to be true, then that event must *necessarily* come about. For if it is true to say *now* that a sea-fight will occur tomorrow, then a sea-fight *must* occur tomorrow. Parts of Aristotle's treatment are not as clear or fully developed as one would like (which may be because many of his extant writings are lecture notes rather than polished pieces), but his basic point is clear enough. Although the strong (or exclusive) disjunctive proposition "A sea-fight will occur tomorrow, or a sea-fight will not occur tomorrow" is necessarily true, it does not follow from this that *either* part is *necessarily* true. Again quoting Aristotle: "One of the two propositions in such instances must be true and the other false, but we cannot say determinately that this or that is false, but must leave the alternative undecided. One may indeed be more likely to be true than the other, but it cannot be either actually true or actually false" (p. 48). Jeff wrote: "By extension, any action that *will* occur, is also a fact. Therefore, if future events are facts, either freedom is an illusion -- or freedom is itself inapplicable to the actions of conscious beings." I covered this before. Future events are not "facts." Jeff wrote: "For it is truly a fact that all beings, insofar as they are alive, must do *something.* Freedom of action is irrelevant to that fact. We are not compelled, then, to take whatever action we take; it is simply a fact, on this account, that we do or do not take it. Freedom has no application, I would argue, to such events; they are simply factual or non-factual." To describe an event as a "fact" is not to compel or necessitate that event, since a "fact" refers to that which is taking place (the present) or has taken place (the past). Let us examine more closely what it means to speak of predictions of contingent human events as either true or false. Consider the statement, "George W. Bush will vote for himself in the next presidential election." This has two primary meanings -- one epistemological, the other metaphysical. Epistemologically, there is a sense in which we can say that the prediction "President Bush will vote for himself in the next election" is true. What we mean by this is not that this prediction will necessarily come to pass -- for there are a number of contingent circumstances, such as his possible decision not to run again, that may occur -- but that the cognitive basis on which we make this prediction is accurate and well-grounded. In this case, the "fact" to which the true proposition corresponds is our state of knowledge at the *present* time. We are saying, in effect: "It is true to say, given our present knowledge and barring any unforeseen circumstances, that this event has a high probability of occurring." Metaphysically, however, we cannot say that the same prediction is "true," for the future event which it predicts does not yet exist, so there is no "fact" to which the proposition can possibly correspond. In this case, the statement "President Bush will vote for himself" will become true only at the point when Bush actually votes for himself, if this should happen.. Similarly, if I say, "The sun will rise tomorrow," I am not *describing* a metaphysical fact; I am *predicting* a fact that I believe will occur in the future. In this metaphysical sense there is no difference between necessary facts and the contingent facts of human action. The difference arises on the epistemological level. Given our deterministic presuppositions about nature, we believe that we have adequate cognitive grounds to make accurate and *precise* predictions about future physical events. In this sphere, as Aristotle puts it, "there are no real alternatives; everything takes place of necessity and is fixed" (p.46). But, lacking causal necessity, this kind of precise prediction is not possible about contingent human actions. As Aristotle said about human actions: "[W]e see that both deliberation and action are causative with regard to the future, and that, to speak more generally, in those things which are not continuously actual, there is potentiality in either direction. Such things may either be or not be; events also therefore may take place or not take place. There are many obvious instances of this" (p. 47}. Jeff wrote: "To conclude these recondite reflections, I'd say we face a basic choice: either events, including human action, are not fluid, but happen because they must happen -- and will always happen under identical circumstances -- or both future and past events are truly in flux, never absolutely resolving in singular events (except from a limited knowledge perspective). Stated more concretely, if we cannot state facts about the future, then we cannot state facts about the past." This confusion between past facts and future "facts" that don't yet exist, but which may or may not come to be in the sphere of contingent human actions, has resulted here in a good deal of misunderstanding. Jeff wrote: "The difference between past and future events is not, I'm arguing, a matter of fact, but of knowledge. Their *factual* status must be, if we're logically consistent, identical. My assertion that my orange tree will bear fruit next fall is just as much a fact or non-fact as my assertion that Vesuvius exploded in 70 A.D. Ditto for future human actions. It is either a fact or a non-fact that I will have authored a bestseller by January 2004. I just have to wait till then to see if it's true, dammit." I think I have already addressed these points adequately. There are serious ambiguities here that need to be clarified. Ghs
  21. 1 point
    Trash. Crap. Don't step in it. edit. There are several threads, or topics for teens on Objectivist Living and I have NO doubt kids frequent these pages so for that guy to advertise sex acts with kids? other men? other women? himself? tag teams? criminal acts? public acts? Do you feel safe around these people? Do you want your kids playing around these people?
  22. 1 point
    Heh. Elan Journo strikes a blow for truth and defends Bill Gates according to a story in his skull that aligns with a myopic view of Ayn Rand's positions. Well think about this. Bill Gates is one of the major funders of the World Health Organization. He has been the second largest funder for years, right behind the USA, which was first. Now think about the following. The USA, as of today, is no longer a member of the World Health Organization. Why? Because WHO is a puppet of the Chinese Communist Party and President Trump got fed up with it. In other words, Bill Gates has been fine with the objectives of the Chinese Communist Party at WHO, so much so, he was a major WHO sponsor for years. Gates is not a stupid man and does not throw well over a billion dollars at something without looking at what he is paying for. So this control of WHO by the Chinese Communist Party could not have escaped his attention. Now notice that Journo supports Gates, yet doesn't see the Chinese Communist Party connection. Vladimir Lenin used to call people like Elan Journo a "useful idiot." Or at least this term is attributed to Lenin. Now consider this. Elan Journo is, in indirect but practical terms, advocating for the Chinese Communist Party in the name of Ayn Rand. I wonder what she would have thought about that. I don't channel Rand, but I imagine "useful idiot" is tame compared to what would have come out of her mouth. Michael
  23. 1 point
    Robert, I've left the battlefield where people fight over the split. Ever since then, I've been able to see clearly that it generally boils down to money, sex and power with humans, including Objectivists. On another thread, Neil Parille just stated that ARI lost a major donor: Ayn Rand Institute Having Financial Problems. In the past, major donors have migrated from ARI to TAS, so maybe this is what is happening. Maybe Brook is pissed ARI lost a lot of money to TAS. So there's the money angle. TAS has hired a new set of faces for the organization and, from what I've seen so far, they are far more media-savvy than the ARI folks. The fact that some are pretty women like Alexandra York and Jennifer Grossman helps, too. It's not PC to say things like that anymore, but I don't care. Adding pretty faces to a message has enhanced its marketing appeal since the dawn of capitalism. That's a fact that is, was and always will be. I imagine the success of TAS galls the ARI folks, who consider themselves to be a superior life form. More elitism. which is the power angle. TAS has its own issues with elitism (snobs are everywhere and TAS is no exception), too, but they are not nearly as severe as those of ARI. There's also a toxic personal vanity thing re relationships. The entire ARI-TAS kerfuffle stems from Rand excommunicating the Brandens for feeling they rejected her. So she rejected them. Peikoff never knew of Rand's affair with NB while she was alive. When he discovered proof in her papers after she passed away (he was her legal heir), he had a heart attack. Literally. It almost killed him for real. Although he has never said so, this is a form of rejection and I imagine it screwed with his emotions bigtime. Like or dislike Peikoff, a brush with death is an impactful event in the life of anyone. Also, both Barbara and Nathaniel never hid their low opinion of him--they always called him some variation of crazy, so with the discovery of the affair and the terror of almost dying over it, I think his hatred of them went into white-hot mode and has burned steadily ever since. Notice that almost all major sins of the principals in O-Land in this split boil down to people refusing to hate the Brandens. In other words, the issue is not ideological. They all say it is, but it isn't. It's about relationships and rejection at root. If it were ideas only, the disagreements would be more civil and rational. You don't see a deep level of hatred of communism in their demeanor, for example, even though all self-respecting Randians consider communism to be evil. But notice how people involved in this inter-subcommunity fight get overly-emotional, mischaracterize the work of each other, etc. That comes from something other than ideas. From the way I figure, it comes from rejection by a loved one, and for the followers of that person, feelings of protection of someone who has suffered such rejection. People fight and the seed produces its toxic fruit. Thus, taking sides has become a precondition to making friends and this has nothing to do with the issues dealt with in Objectivist thought. Also, there are variations on this theme shot all through O-Land. For example, there's a site, Solo Passion, that bashes the crap out of Brook, but blames everything wrong in the world on the Brandens. See this post as an example. Why would that be? Well, I was part of the history of this one, so I know from seeing it up close. Perigo and Barbara Branden used to be tight. And Perigo always dreamed of being an Objectivist leader. With her endorsement, he was part way there. They ended up falling out (mostly vanity issues) and she ultimately rejected him. When a book critical of the Brandens came out, he embraced it and has been on a crusade against the Brandens ever since. Oddly enough, this guy supports Trump like I do. But I don't want President Trump to wipe every last vestige of the Brandens off the face of the earth and I imagine he does. (That's a quip and I make that qualification for the idiots reading this. ) Also, Brook agreed to debate Perigo recently about immigration. Brook bowed out when it became clear Perigo would insult him to his face in public. So Brook rejected him and he has been on a nonstop rant against Brook ever since. From what I have read (and I don't read a lot of this stuff), some of the reasoning is justified. (I could go into it, but that's not the point of this post.) But much of it is just emotional hate-baiting based on being rejected. In the end, all this rejection stuff is about power. Public rejection and waging war over it is a power-play. War is all about power, right? I wish there were some intellectual depth to all this, but there is very little, mostly none. The ARI folks demand that Objectism be only what Rand wrote and, I agree, it is reasonable to make a classification of what she wrote as being what it is. But they want to erect an establishment out of this where they can control the speech and thought of others. They feel threatened when someone who doesn't think like they do calls himself or herself an Objectivist. Ultimately, they don't trust individuals to do good thinking on their own. That's the main reasoning behind ARI's current hostility. (Although I believe the driver is money, sex and power, but not all that much sex. They need to get laid more. ) People who disagree with this think they have the right to absorb Rand's vision and do things with it filtered through their own life, their experiences, reading and thinking. They claim the right to call themselves Objectivists and still have disagreements with Rand, ARI, whoever. Should they be able to do this? Let's look at it. The intellectual part of the issue boils down to a dictionary, believe it or not. Open any dictionary and you will see that almost every word in it has more than one meaning. When ARI folks use the word "Objectivism," them mean only what Rand wrote and don't want there to be a second definition. They claim they have the right to demand this. When others use the word "Objectivism," they mean using what Rand wrote as a starting point for their thinking as they go off in their individual directions. (So, yes, Virginia, there can be two meanings for the same word and people have a right to use words .) I belong to this second group, although I rarely refer to myself as an Objectivist these days. It's not because I want to avoid unpleasantness with the fundies (fundamentalists ). And they do ladle on unpleasantness if you get close to them. But I'm not competing with them so we generally stay distant. It's because I don't want the general public to confuse me with the fundies. I think it's embarrassing to demand other people use the language in one meaning only. Human language constantly morphs. It morphs slowly, but has done so since humans began to speak. Also, I disagree with the worshipful rigidity of the fundies and, ultimately, don't think a society of people like that was what Rand was after at all. I know I don't want to be that--I don't want to be a fanatic or disciple within a closed-off tribe. I'm my own man. However, my philosophical foundation was formed by reading Rand's works over a lifetime. I can't undo that even if I wanted to. Nowadays I disagree with Rand on some things (mostly scope), but that doesn't mean I disavow what I do agree with. And it doesn't mean that what I do agree with isn't foundational in my thinking. It is. Like all humans during all of human history, I need a label for something important, a label others can understand that doesn't require long explanations everytime I use it. This is just simple communication. Outside of the fundies, most people get what I mean when I say I follow Rand's thinking without being a fanatic. In that sense, I'm an Objectivist. Michael
  24. 1 point
    Let me mention an example of holding a firm position on something where there is a lot of exponential knowledge exploding, but not having time to keep up with the knowledge: Manmade climate change. My position is not that it exists or doesn't exist. My position is that the government well-paid experts and scientists and propagandists who have tried to sell massive government controls to people have been caught lying over and over. And their predictions keep crapping out. I'm certainly not going to invest a lot of my own time and energy reading materials--even materials for lay people--based on their work. (In fact, I used to look at this stuff, but then I found out the monkey-shines and stopped.) Besides, there are plenty of scientists of good repute who dispute their claims. So I don't trust liars who have conflicts of interest to boot. I don't claim to be an expert on climate science. What little interest I did have in it evaporated when I discovered what a dirty, morally flawed field it is in gathering and presenting evidence. I prefer to give this issue some time and wait until scientists of reasonable integrity appear. The scare tactics of proven liars don't affect me. As to my own beliefs on manmade climate change, I can't appeal to hard science. But I do have a rule of thumb that gives me a strong bias. I admit this is not science so there is a small margin for error. I don't believe much of what liars say. And proven liars are the most vocal ones who constantly claim manmade climate change is a danger. I don't believe them. That's a way to do it as a lay person when there are too many piles of technical data to look at and everybody is yelling for more and more government money and power. You simply look at the moral character of the scientists who do the experiments and measurements and judge them by their actions. At least you will be able to conclude that what they tell to the public is flawed and misleading. Michael
  25. 1 point
    Wolf, It's probably the marketing since your stuff is good. I suggest you study what Robert Bidinotto does re market. He makes it as a self-published author by doing all the right things. For instance, he networks like crazy. He keeps up several web presences and makes efforts to get traffic to them. He constantly offers value before asking for value. He keeps up on industry news and takes advantage of new promotion opportunities. He has a strong notion of who his target audience is and he formats most of his messages to the values and habits of that persona. And so on. He does all this so well, he even manages to hold and preach some rather obnoxious and not well-reasoned prejudices about sundry things and is still quite successful. (To be fair, I agree with about 80% of his positions, which he presents brilliantly.) On his blog he has a page called Helpful Links for Authors. It's quite a helpful list. Stuff like that makes people want to show up. (In some marketing quarters, this is called a traffic magnet.) When you set one up, you make sure information about your own works are easily within reach and Robert does this correctly. In other words, if you ever decide to reverse engineer the market processes of a successful fiction writer from our neck of the woods, he is a good example to look at. Make a list of the things I mentioned above (and other things you find on the Helpful Links for Authors page) and ask yourself as you go along, how is Robert doing this? What is he doing? Am I looking at a weak example of this item or a strong example? What results is he getting from this item? And so on. It's uncomfortable to do this at first, but like all new skills, it gets easier with time as competence grows. Michael
  26. 1 point
    Tony, Close, but no cigar. (btw - What on earth is a "genuine emotion"? Is that the opposite of a fraudulent emotion? And who or what judges this stuff--an emotion bank or emotion cops? ) But here's a curve ball. Believe it or not, all our conversations about this stuff has a lot more to do with human memory than anything else. The human cortex provides us with the ability to project into the future. But it did not initiate our memory (which records the past). That started at the single cell level in evolution millions of years ago. Notice that one big hole in Objectivism is a theory of memory. Rand (in ITOE) proclaimed that sensory input is not stored in memory and that's about that. She gave no indication of where she got that idea or what evidence she based it on. She decreed it and built out her theory of concepts from there. I inferred that percepts, to her, are the first instances of human memory, but she never said that explicitly. Here is her exact quote (ITOE, Chapter 1, already in the third paragraph): Then she held a newborn infant to an adult standard of awareness and proclaimed: There is so much wrong with this, it's hard to know where to start. "As far as can be ascertained"? Ascertained by whom? Rand never says. But certainly not by the scientists who study newborns that I have read (even from her time). And on and on. The most serious layman level problem with her claim comes when a newborn receives the first smack on it's bottom and cries out. That smack is it's first "born" conscious awareness experience of a sensation and in every example I have ever seen or heard of, that is not an "undifferentiated chaos." It hurts like hell and the baby lets everyone know very clearly that it's pissed about it. How's that for wedding cognitive identification of a sensation to emotion right from the beginning of "born" conscious awareness? Seriously, you need to read more about emotions to understand this stuff correctly. (That sounds condescending, but that's not my intent.) Like I had been during so many years, you are in "deduce reality from principles mode" (in fact, just like Rand did in her quotes) when there is a ton of observable stuff to look at that does not behave the way you say (or the way she says, for that matter). And this observable stuff is understandable by lay people and repeatable. In other words, it is subject to the rigors of reason, not dogma. (Dogma, to me, is a set of principles running hogwild over reason. ) This is one of the things I mean by getting out of the bubble. You have to look and identify, then evaluate, not do it in the reverse direction. btw - In addition to the book on emotions I recommended, here is a wonderful book on memory and it is quite practical: Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions by Carmen Simon. Since you like to start with principles rather than observe instances (this is not a criticism--I used to be like that for years, it's a downside of a principle-heavy philosophy like Objectivism, although this habit is not limited to Objectivism), you will probably like Carmen Simon's approach. Besides, she's pretty. Here is principle number one from her: "People act on what they remember, not on what they forget." In other words, you cannot influence anyone with a message unless you can get them to remember it. People are not influenced by messages they forget. For starting from a principle, that's a pretty good one. We can at least observe that in our own behavior our entire lives. It's kinda "duh" level, but you will not find it taught by Rand or Objectivist intellectuals. They simply don't have much to say about memory, yet memory is the foundation of learning, experience and projecting into the future, i.e., the foundation of ALL chosen values. And chosen values are the core of rational ethics in Objectivism. That's quite a foundational hole to skip over... Back to emotions. They are totally intertwined with memory and, as such, they are the actual building blocks of concepts. (I'm not denigrating Rand's algebra component, though. That, to me, is a genius level insight about higher abstractions.) Here's something for you to chew on. Did you know that your gut stores and operates memory? Yup. That's right where poop is processed and expelled. There are neural pathways from there straight to the brain, too. But wait! There's more! Did you know that your gut generates emotion? Yup. Emotion. And fundamental components of a whole slew of emotions. There is a reason for the term "gut feeling." I could go on and on... Seriously, take a look at the things I am talking about. I'm not trying to persuade you. I'm just trying to get you to look... to look at something you don't even imagine exists right now--not exists in a form that is easily observable by you and everyone, otherwise I believe you would look. The reason I say this is you keep going back to Rand-like principles and ignoring the rest when I bring it up. Once you see the science and this other stuff for real and I don't have to keep hammering the subtext that this stuff exists, then we will probably have some very good substantive discussions. I am not at all interested in overthrowing Rand and I feel you will be a great ally in framing her observations and claims to fit the science as much as possible. I believe there is great value to doing this, especially since Rand's frameworks are easily learned by lay people. If you want to influence people, that's a really good thing. Besides, I'm a glass half-full kind of guy so I want to extract all the value from Rand possible and not let people dismiss her good stuff because of something where she's wrong. Michael
  27. 1 point
    You're trying very hard to believe that if I comment on anything I am therefore "bothered" by it. Heh. Randy, wow, why are you so bothered by my comments that you had to reply? Why does what I say matter so much to you? You're so fragile. So much less than me. Nothing bothers or matters to me. Don't be so upset that I'm overwhelmingly superior to you in every way. You should admire your betters, not feel envy toward them.
  28. 1 point
    Michael, Simple. Curiosity is one early symptom and aspect of "the need to know". That you'll agree, is the most powerful of human drives. Early, because it's a precognitive precondition of one making identifications - What is it? Our senses which are constantly, actively searching our environments, hit upon many potentialities of interest to be curious about, curiosities that ~may~ be followed up and become actualities, new knowledge. But in any given day one will be curious about many random, little to larger things, all of which one can't have time or doesn't need, or loses interest to pursue (to my observation). One's priorities of purpose would determine and choose which to spend effort on. People are often awed by the power their emotions can have, and make the error they are causeless, springing out of nowhere - quite mysteriously. The "need to know" has as much and more power as any emotion, it also may seem causeless, and so it gets conflated with them. I see it now. Frame curiosity as "an emotion" - and by that, all genuine emotions may also be considered "tools of cognition"!
  29. 1 point
    And, to add to this, I think people love the lead-up to love more than love itself. Here's a recent example. I just read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Spielberg is releasing the movie on March 30 so there is going to be a lot of buzz about it. I read this thing because Rush Limbaugh said it gave a good overview of what Millennials think and believe. And, sure, there was the climate change garbage, some diversity stuff, the evil cheating corporation as the villain, etc. And video games galore. (And an overdose of 1980's nostalgia for the parents of Millennials--sneaky, sneaky Mr. Cline. ) But this book actually made me more hopeful of Millennials, especially seeing the massive success it has achieved. The story is essentially a good old fashioned Hero's Journey in the classical Joseph Campbell mold. And the book is pure Hollywood. The hero is a badass who suffers unduly (he's even an orphan). After going through all kinds of trials and tribulations that lead to a massive climax (SPOILER ALERT), he kicks the ass of the bad guy, gets the girl in the end, and becomes a hero for the entire world. (Surprise surprise surprise... ) But, man, did he suffer to get the girl. He was hopelessly in love for most of the book. He only got the kiss at the very end, after Cline squeezed all the emotional juice out of the hope/fear page-turning anticipation for the reader. And, as a reader, I can attest that this kiss (of course, accompanied by the pattern-completing declarations of love--whew! finally! ) was a supremely satisfying moment. Man, did the oxytocin flow... If the young folks love romantic heroes like this enough to blast an unknown author straight up into the Spielberg category, they're just fine. We can straighten them out on political policies as we go along. Emotionally, they love life and the good things life can provide, including old-fashioned heroism and love, so I believe reason will penetrate over time with the rest. That thought makes me happy since I was starting to go negative on the entire generation. I don't mind correcting myself here. In fact, it's a pleasure. Michael
  30. 1 point
    I want to add to this thought with a comment I made to a screenwriting friend I interact with on Facebook (a fantastic teacher, too--Peter Russell). He was discussing the Fifty Shades thing. I'm posting this because, as I work through these ideas myself, I believe some of them will be useful to aspiring authors (or even authors) who read OL. I wrote: I think the most important thought in that quote is that people love seduction more than sex. It's all in the anticipation. That's Storytelling 101 as I have been learning it. It works, too. It causes all kinds of emotions in the minds of readers. Rand certainly knew how to do this. That's one of the big reasons her fiction still sells. Michael