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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. "I couldn't help it!", cried James Taggart... (Reminds me of that scene from ATLAS where a low-level employee was used as the proverbial scapegoat, to take the fall for the big-wigs...and it's a common trope on tv now to have a stupid character promoted beyond their skill in order to have them take the fall, in general...life imitating art imitating life...)
    3 points
  12. Funny but that Government resigned upon people storming the capital and when the " insurrectionists" stormed the capitol, Pelosi et al had a 3 am vote to "certify" the election.
    3 points
  13. D, Desmet is way cool. I posted a video of his about mass formation in the Story Wars thread last October (see here). Mass formation psychosis, though, seems especially dangerous. Especially when it is engineered by behavioral science pricks in collusion with an out-of-control government. I remember Glenn Beck talking about the same concept years ago in different words. He talked about the leftist theory of squeezing people top down, bottom up and inside out. The idea is that when things get bad enough, people want it to stop and eventually become so desperate, once a strong man comes along and says he has the remedy, they follow him blindly. People are doing this with Fauci, of all people. He's not a "strong man" in the traditional sense, but he always speaks in a tone of absolute certainty. And he always says he has the remedy. That's what people want to calm their frustrations and fears. Frankly, there is an element of this idea in the Trump movement. Trump even cultivated the "strong man" charisma. I think he is hated so much, at least by the predator class, because they know he has no a dictator aspirations like they do. He just looks like he does. So they see him as a Trojan horse for their aims. The potential for the Trump movement to turn into a mass formation psychosis is the only thing that bothers me about it. Right now, I don't see this as an issue because Trump is so grounded. But later, after he gets power once again and weakens the other side in a critical manner, I fear the ones who come after him. Humans are flawed when it comes to power. Michael
    3 points
  14. "Who has written the best book or article on "the Predator Class," does anyone know?" See also Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, especially, but not limited to, Chapter 12: "The Predatory State". Here are specific mentions of "the predatory state" via a Kindle search: Sciabarra, Chris Matthew. Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical . Penn State University Press. Kindle Edition.
    3 points
  15. Woo hoo! Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted of all charges in Kenosha shooting NYPOST.COM Kyle Rittenhouse broke down in tears and collapsed in his seat as the not-guilty verdict was read out in court. He hugged one of his lawyers, who told the shaking teen to "breathe.'' Now he can sue the asses off the press for defamation and join the Covington kids as a kind of David archetype in a David and Goliath template. Michael
    3 points
  16. NOT GUILTY!!!!!!! Friday night riots tonight. Congrats Kyle!!!!
    3 points
  17. Christine Anderson, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany, just did for the resistance to the vax tyranny what Patrick Henry did for the American Revolution. Steve Bannon even said her words were like the Gettysburg address in conciseness and power. Must Watch Very Powerful - Christine Anderson European Parliament WWW.BITCHUTE.COM In the entire history of mankind there has never been a political elite sincerely concerned about the well-being of regular people. What makes any of us think that it is different now. - Christine Anderson... Here is the golden phrase. This thing has gone viral all across the Internet the world over. It is awesome she said that in the European Parliament, which is about anything and everything except freedom. Here is the full text of that 2 minutes or so of her speech. Steven Bannon interviewed her this morning. Major Harassment With Propaganda Show Going On In Europe Over Vax RUMBLE.COM Major Harassment With Propaganda Show Going On In Europe Over Vax Notice that her notion of her own freedom is so strong, she is not calling the vax-bullies "tyranny" or anything like that. She is calling them "harassment." You can almost see her dusting them off her shoes as she steps onto the path of greatness in human history. Michael
    3 points
  18. Use these numbers and pro rate the entire world and you have the flu d'etat, and the plandemic. World war 4 just ended. We secured Normandy
    3 points
  19. I went on a bit of a rant Tuesday in the waiting room at the eye clinic. The waiting room has one of those TVs which run health-info mini lectures. Used to be that the material was about eye conditions and treatment possibilities. Now it's mostly assurances about the (fictional) "safety and efficacy" of the Covid jabs. One of the segments pertained to pregnant women and there being "no cause for concern" about damage to the fetus. I gave a little angered speech to Larry about its being criminal to give the stuff to pregnant women. I didn’t want to risk triggering an incident, so I didn’t raise my voice enough so that I'd seem to be addressing the room at large. Just enough so that I could be heard if other persons in the room cared to listen. Ellen
    3 points
  20. NOT "because of Covid", instead because of compelled interventions. Because of - the anti-science, unnecessary, sacrificial, one size for all, policy of lockdowns etc. thrust on everyone in a supposed causation from Covid. What's human-constructed (or -forced) did not 'have to be'. What's metaphysical, a virus, "had to be". I was considering if there isn't some detectable Categorical Imperative behind 1. universal lockdowns and 2. universal vaccinations. A universal law. *Act only according to that maxim by which you can also will that it become a universal law*. I.Kant From one to all. Isn't that maxim what we see going on?
    3 points
  21. This morning I heard an interview with Gov Beshear of Kentucky bemoaning the fact that there are still vestiges of the American system of checks and balances in place in his state. He sees as a defect the fact that the citizenry can influence public debate via their elected representatives in the state's legislature. He lamented the fact that power didn't reside in one individual and that that individual couldn't be free to impose their will even and especially if that will was 'unpopular'. A sitting Governor in the USA on public airwaves lamenting the fact that he can't be Mussolini, wtf.
    3 points
  22. William, No. I do not find the issue of the professional qualifications or conduct of lawyers the caliber of Sidney Powel and Lin Wood debatable. Especially not when a corrupt activist judge is involved. For as much as I despise Marc Elias, I have the same professional attitude about his legal demeanor standards. He games the system and might even be guilty of bribery, being a bag man, and so on, but within the legal structure and as a lawyer, like when in court, he stays within bounds. At least from what I have seen. Disbarring him would be a political act, not a legal one. And I would not be on board. btw - I do not have the same evaluation of Andrew Weissmann, who has been guilty of prosecutorial misconduct over and over and always skirted despite his prosecutions being overturned over and over. This is one dude who should be disbarred and even thrown in prison. But being the Clinton attack dog from early on, well, we know that, even though cheating is his judicial standard, getting away with cheating is the rule until he is overturned. And then he, personally, gets away with it even when his case is lost. Rand had a good shortcut for this kind of garbage, which includes the garbage they are throwing at Sidney Powel and Lin Wood. Don't bother to examine a folly-ask yourself only what it accomplishes. As you know, that is not my normal standard. But in this case, the abuse of power is so egregious, and the corruption of the players is so obvious (they keep getting busted over and over), the details don't matter. It's like the 12 FBI agents spending months pretending to be militia to set up and entrap 6 actual militia dudes in Michigan about kidnapping Whitaker and thinking they have done something to fight crime. It's all bullshit. Can the details like color, texture, thickness, etc., of a pile of shit keep it from being shit? No. That's why I'm not interested in the details in this case. Both Powell and Wood will appeal and win. So all this is just a big waste of time as a publicity stunt to get the press pressure off of Biden's fuck-ups and the election audit steam-roller heading this way. Michael
    3 points
  23. Individuals, those who were in government and those working in the school system at the time need to be held accountable for their own individual actions, and all individuals or organizations in possession of any information pertaining to those crimes should forward that on to investigative authorities, so that those individuals who perpetrated any crime are brought to justice. In today's group think however, even though these are past crimes by individual people, much of the focus and blame will be on the so-called current collective "guilt" of or "stain" on Government, the Taxpayer, or Society (the polite self-effacing collectivist guilty Canadian... the "We"), simultaneously the favorite mystical scapegoats and paternal caretakers of the members of the collective mob... the subconscious premise being the straw man responsibility and guilt of the current generation ("original sin" inherited by birth perhaps?) justifies the thirst for self- or other-flagellation , self- or other-loathing and redistribution. IF that stupid culture of socialism could give way to individualism, current government officials would, for the most part, have no reason to cover any sins by past governments and other individuals, and promptly and simply stop covering it up and start investigating individuals ... but the group think of collective guilt gives them plenty of "reasons", personal and political, to thwart and distort justice into a Canadian woke circus.
    3 points
  24. 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
  25. TG, I was not making a rebuke. I want that to be clear since facial expressions, body language, etc., are not part of the normal message. We only have written words and, at times, images and videos. I want to elaborate on a few points since my purpose is to establish bridges of communication. 1. I start from the position that most people are good and want to be good, to do good. I think if they can see a problem without pegging it to a strongly slanted/bigoted core story, they will opt for the most reasonable conclusion and that will tend to be good. So when I try to convince someone, I am not trying to make him or her think as I do. I am not trying to get immediate agreement with me. I am trying to get them to see what I see as I see it, irrespective if they agree or not. Once they do that, I trust them to make use of that information as best they can. This is more complicated than just trying to get them to agree with me. It means trying to get them to step out of their core story, even if only for a few minutes, so their critical brain can gather raw information. That's probably the hardest persuasion thing of all to do--to get people to identify something for a few minutes without judging it, especially a hot button issue. This is too long to go into here, but it is critical to making lasting change for the better to the world. 2. Like I said, forum communication is limited, being mostly words without body language. I have little doubt that often I do not get a correctly inflected message from those I disagree with because of this missing information. Ditto for them re me. That is and always will be an important part of context for reason to prevail. As I keep saying, how can one evaluate correctly what one does not identify correctly? 3. Canada is huge and this is critical when talking to Canadians about socialism. For example, they grok piles of dead bodies abstractly, but their day-to-day living does not allow them many conceptual referents for what that would look like as it develops. Oh, they sometimes see the photos, but that--even the possibility of that--has nothing in common with what they have lived all their lives. Those photos belong on a different planet to them. They belong to some noumenal realm or other, not to reality as they know it There's just way too much land with few humans on it. So, even in reality, when their government gets too tyrannical, they mostly shrug because they can ignore the nasty part of the ramifications of oligarchical dictatorship with a technocratic flavor. As a short way of saying it, law enforcement is few and the territory is enormous. That makes for low tension. 4. Like it or not, the way people communicate--the stuff you complained about--is the main form of the only world we've got. We either learn to convince people in that world, or we turn them into enemies at the drop of a hat. (I'm not saying evil deadly people don't exist. They do. The scary thing is that, nowadays, they run social media companies, work leading health care organizations, etc.) So if we want to change the minds of people, we have to convince them in the manner they speak. Otherwise, we are not on the field. And there's this. When I look at O-Land people, I see good people in general, not bad. Even with the more boneheaded ones. The following applies to the wrongheaded, but often applies to those more clear-thinking. I don't see their public expression setting a path that leads to evil people. Theoretically it could, I suppose, but I don't see any real-world impact from them. Hell, a lousy quarterback kneeling during the National Anthem has been more relevant to the world than all of them put together. So, instead of a s path to evil, I see them setting a path to their own irrelevance re important issues in the world. That's why I made my comment about calling them traitors and so on. I don't see them as the kind of people who overturn governments and I don't even see them influencing enough people to make any kind of change in the world. They simply don't convince anyone and don't want to. To be fair, in O-Land, people exist on a continuum, going from mostly harmless snarky control freaks to really good intelligent people. I dearly want to see a correlation between the ideas they profess and their character, but I don't see it when I go into identify-only mode. I mean, there really are bad ides. If implemented on a large-scale they really do give rise to evil deadly people in power. So it would be great if good ideas meant good character. But that's not the way humans work. I will cut a good person with bad ideas a hell of a lot more slack than I will for a bad person with good ideas. Anyway, I believe it is important to include all this (and other things I did not write about here) as potential context to look at when condemning someone. I consider those who defrauded the election last year as traitors. Human traffickers are real enemies, and so on. Not a person within O-Land regardless how outrageous something is he or she may say. (At least most of the time. ) That's what I see. (btw - You are one of the good guys with great potential for making good-guy changes in the real world. Not just here in O-Land. That's why I'm talking about all this.) Michael
    3 points
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. Glad to hear people of influence or accomplishment are actually open to the ideas discussed here. I understand and respect their privacy. Rand discussed a great many things... she identified single State corruption, a swamp on a small scale... but without an inking of the technology of today could she even have in her wildest dreams thought of such a global elitist oligarchy attempting to enslave the entire world as it is today? Had she ever thought these petty technocrat busy bodies in government, big tech and the media would ever be so bold as to proclaim to all, their ideal two class system... the government-media-tech-illuminati and the quaking yet trusting sheeple whom they "tend"? The "elimination" of "property" for some while those in power keep to themselves the "right" duty and privilege to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy all things, or to exclude others from doing so... There are those who would say it has been so for many decades, others would say always, but for it to be in naked sight and as brazen as it is now... it disgusts me.
    3 points
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Maybe Trump will pardon Assange on Christmas Day. Ellen
    3 points
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. Wow, that one seventeen year old basement troglodyte really got under Twatter's skin. All four hundred pounds of ze.
    3 points
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. Mick West at Metabunk.org has published a book! It's called "Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect." The early reviews at Amazon.com are brutal. I publish a fair-use excerpt from the introduction to the book published last month at Salon: How to pull a friend out of the conspiracy theory rabbit hole | It’s not a blue pill or a red pill, but a poison pill I've added highlights to parts of the excerpt that might be helpful to OLers struggling with the entailments of conspiracy-ideation --in friends, family, and perhaps in themselves ... as those of us who have read the Rob Brotherton classic understand ... "Its not THEM, it's US" ... no one wing of political or social groups is more vulnerable to the harms of conspiracy ideation than another. "Try to figure out my tricks." What good advice ...
    3 points
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. “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
  47. I don't want to talk about it. --Brant
    3 points
  48. 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
  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