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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/09/2009 in Posts

  1. 4 points
    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.
  2. 4 points
    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.
  3. 4 points
    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. 3 points
    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
  5. 3 points
    Wow, that one seventeen year old basement troglodyte really got under Twatter's skin. All four hundred pounds of ze.
  6. 3 points
    Frankly I think we have entertained the irrational and fear-frozen among us for way too long. It is time to take life back. No more forced face diapers and closed schools. The frightened can stay indoors indefinitely if they want, but they have no right to shut the rest of our lives down and we are not going to take it much longer.
  7. 3 points
    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/
  8. 3 points
    And Gates. And WHO. And everyone else involved in the scheme. I'm very angry about the deaths from this "dastardly plot." I'm thinking of those who died as war casualties. Ellen
  9. 3 points
    The pandemics in 1957 and then again in 1968 killed roughly 100k Americans each, they were influenza viruses , I don't know of any societal wide reactions that match this one. Did we flatten a curve ? Or do curves just do what curves do? It doesn't seem like lockdowns did much other than economic damage. I mean pandemics suck , but yeah they suck. Hurricanes suck too . ? It's starting to really feel like we've been played , no ?
  10. 3 points
    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
  11. 3 points
    The single greatest advance in medicine was the germ theory of disease. It's precursor was smallpox vaccination. There is no handling flu with vaccine, just the pretense, but the pretense is a horse to ride into good doing the world. I'd never get a flu shot. The virus mutates too much too quickly. Money is a road to power. These money men, ironically, are being controlled and used by people who live in all ways high on the hogs. They aren't after a virus, but you and me through nation state destruction and globalization. Above all they must all belong to the same fraternity. If Bill Gates were a true hero he'd go after malaria with DDT advocacy. --Brant
  12. 3 points
    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.
  13. 3 points
    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
  14. 3 points
    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.
  15. 3 points
    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 !
  16. 3 points
    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
  17. 3 points
    And I'm not too proud to admit that I started leaning into the corners by the end of the second vid. J
  18. 3 points
    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.
  19. 3 points
    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.
  20. 3 points
    “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.
  21. 3 points
    I don't want to talk about it. --Brant
  22. 3 points
    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.
  23. 3 points
    While I was no fan of McCain qua politician, and regard his prisoner-of-war heroism as misdirected, the story bears reviewing. This comes from David Foster Wallace's piece on McCain from 2000. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/david-foster-wallace-on-john-mccain-the-weasel-twelve-monkeys-and-the-shrub-194272/ But there’s something underneath politics in the way you have to hear McCain, something riveting and unSpinnable and true. It has to do with McCain’s military background and Vietnam combat and the five-plus years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison, mostly in solitary, in a box, getting tortured and starved. And the unbelievable honor and balls he showed there. It’s very easy to gloss over the POW thing, partly because we’ve all heard so much about it and partly because it’s so off-the-charts dramatic, like something in a movie instead of a man’s life. But it’s worth considering for a minute, because it’s what makes McCain’s “causes greater than self-interest” line easier to hear. You probably already know what happened. In October of ’67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and flying his 23rd Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, which ejection broke both McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies right over Hanoi. Try to imagine for a second how much this would hurt and how scared you’d be, three limbs broken and falling toward the enemy capital you just tried to bomb. His chute opened late and he landed hard in a little lake in a park right in the middle of downtown Hanoi, Imagine treading water with broken arms and trying to pull the life vest’s toggle with your teeth as a crowd of Vietnamese men swim out toward you (there’s film of this, somebody had a home-movie camera, and the N.V. government released it, though it’s grainy and McCain’s face is hard to see). The crowd pulled him out and then just about killed him. U.S. bomber pilots were especially hated, for obvious reasons. McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Plus by this time his right knee was bent 90-degrees to the side with the bone sticking out. Try to imagine this. He finally got tossed on a jeep and taken five blocks to the infamous Hoa Lo prison – a.k.a. the “Hanoi Hilton,” of much movie fame – where they made him beg a week for a doctor and finally set a couple of the fractures without anesthetic and let two other fractures and the groin wound (imagine: groin wound) stay like they were. Then they threw him in a cell. Try for a moment to feel this. All the media profiles talk about how McCain still can’t lift his arms over his head to comb his hair, which is true. But try to imagine it at the time, yourself in his place, because it’s important. Think about how diametrically opposed to your own self-interest getting knifed in the balls and having fractures set without painkiller would be, and then about getting thrown in a cell to just lie there and hurt, which is what happened. He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant’s office and offered to let him go. This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain’s father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces (which is true – both his father and grandfather were admirals), and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused, The U.S. military’s Code of Conduct for Prisoners of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order they were captured, and there were others who’d been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code. The commandant, not pleased, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs. And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a “punishment cell.” Maybe you’ve heard all this before; it’s been in umpteen different media profiles of McCain. But try to imagine that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? It so, would you have refused to go? You simply can’t know for sure. None of us can. It’s hard even to imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you’d react. But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts. But the point is that with McCain it feels like we know, for a proven fact, that he’s capable of devotion to something other, more, than his own self-interest. So that when he says the line in speeches in early February you can feel like maybe it isn’t just more candidate bullshit, that with this guy it’s maybe the truth. Or maybe both the truth and bullshit: the guy does – did – want your vote, after all.
  24. 3 points
    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.
  25. 3 points
    I hope my posts get a lot of sads (from the anti-Trump bitches!)
  26. 2 points
    Here in Chicago, Mayor Lightweight, after blustering nonstop that Trump better stay out of Chicago or else, backtracks. Now she's like, "Of course the Feds can come in." (She wants Fed money, that's her real motivation.) She's snarling as she backtracks, but action-wise, she's been potty-trained. And, her real name is Lightfoot, but I don't like that name. I like the one I used. Chicago Mayor Confirms White House Deploying Federal Agents to City God, how I dislike this place. Kat and I gotta get outta here. We're actually making plans... Michael
  27. 2 points
    Cockroaches rolled over by cop car ...
  28. 2 points
    Michael, I quoted the start of your post to draw quick attention to the post. The post's length might turn people away from reading it. I VERY MUCH RECOMMEND that people do read the whole thing. Please, readers, pay extra careful attention to the central part which describes in specifics how the leftist radicals took over college education . The description is spot on, including the part about non-radical faculty members finding meetings boring, often not attending them, saying, oh, well, if you want that hire so much, ok, etc. Capitulation through ho-humness to an attrition process they didn't realize was happening. The result has been a mind-ruined generation who are now old enough to start running things. Ellen
  29. 2 points
    Verified is a funny word , nowadays, perhaps always, but definitely nowadays.
  30. 2 points
    Ayn Rand's 1957 novel, ATLAS SHRUGGED, contained a counter-conspiracy involving a radio speech given by a man who vowed "to stop the motor of the world." On March 28, 2020, we have this speech dropped by the counter-conspiracy known as "Q", via the internet... "The entire world is watching. Patriots from around the world are praying for AMERICA. We are all bound by a feeling deep inside, a feeling that cannot be publicly expressed for fear of ridicule, a feeling that challenges the mainstream (narrative), against that which we are told to accept and dare not question, put simply, that people are being abused by those in power and time is running out. " Read the entire drop here: https://qmap.pub/ https://twitter.com/StormIsUponUs/status/1243987443533205504?s=20 Many have criticized Rand for Galt's speech being too long to hold people's attention, and too unfilmable for a movie. But whatever else one may think about "Q", you gotta admit, they figured a way around all that...
  31. 2 points
    Very briefly, sir, do not debate the Democrat candidate. It will be "moderated" by fake news Democrats who will attack you viciously and give your opponent every privilege and honor, a trap to goad you into justifiable anger. More importantly, you should say that Democrats are despicable, unqualified to debate. People can vote for them. Fake news can praise them and promote their fitness for office. You don't have to appear on stage as an "equal." Screw them. The only debate worth considering is a Lincoln-Douglas smackdown, no moderators. Let the Democrat candidate speak first, maybe twenty minutes or so, then ignore her. Wash, rinse, repeat for two hours in a ticketed venue with good acoustics, perhaps in Florida. Tickets by lottery. Press gallery limited to camera operators, no journalists. Only one debate event. No "apple box" for Bloomberg if he's the Democrat candidate. Midget Ross Perot was dignified enough to stand on his own two feet, a head shorter than Clinton and Bush. Unfortunately, I don't think you'll be challenged by Bloomberg. Civil strife in Milwaukee will push Michelle Obama forward in a badly disrupted Democrat nominating farce. I don't think you can beat Michelle, so it behooves you to consider the numerous blessings of expat private life. You served your country at a time of historic malaise, made it possible for men to remember the meaning of liberty and justice, sadly too little too late. Not your fault. I blame Paul Ryan, a seething Deep State, felonious Obama officials, and the fake news Establishment. Screw them. You fought like hell. Now it's time to spend more time with Barron and Melania, and enjoy every day of your honorable golden years. If you get bored, build something. .
  32. 2 points
    Not at all dramatic. I really didn't know my Dad until I went to live with him and my step mother when I was 16. I was born in Tucson in 1944 and he had already decamped back to NYC by the time of my first retained memories age two. A newspaper reporter with a genius IQ (189) he became, I learned, a bad alcoholic in 1943. Arrested for a DUI and after a short time in jail he attempted to attack a city cop with his cane on the street and the powers that be told my Mom he had better get out of town, so he did. He was almost put on trial for his pre-WWII activities and was summoned to Washington to testify before a Federal Grand Jury. He flew, which was hard to do in the middle of the war. There was a trial that lasted for over a year with 12 defendants. The judge died and it never went to a jury. (See "A Trial On Trial"--I think that's the title.) You can read about John Gaede pre war in "Under Cover." Dad told me the author got a lot wrong about the people on it including him but was good depicting the various personalities. He was anti-war, pro German--but not a German-American Bund. He wrote two subscription newsletters and had a couple of hundred subscribers and spoke at Madison Square Garden. There a cop grabbed his cane and tried to force it open to reveal a sword, but there wasn't a sword. These were America First anti-war rallies. I know what the old Garden looked like as I went there in 1962 for an anti-communist Christian rally. If Buckley was right Rand was probably there merely because of her anti-communism, but then I didn't know her from a hole in the ground. I was only 18 and helped collect the money.We piled it on a table in a back room. That Swartz (sp?) guy who ran it really knew how to take it in. (to be continued)
  33. 2 points
    Do you have a source?
  34. 2 points
    The Real Roots of the Internet and Social Media The following video from Corbett is quite an education. You can get the transcript and sources here: Episode 359 – The Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Big Tech Doesn’t Want You to Know If you want to know why the claim is bogus that big tech companies are private companies, therefore they should be able to freely censor whoever they please over political preference, take a look at this video. Would one ever make political preference a condition for civil service or joining the armed forces? Of course not. There is a fact that is becoming clearer and clearer to the public as time goes on. Big Tech is Big Government in the guise of private companies. But the big tech companies were and still are funded in great part by the government. And they never strayed from their real purpose, covert surveillance and influence of people in foreign lands--and ditto for American citizens. From that lens, a hell of a lot of mysterious happenings start making sense. Michael
  35. 2 points
    Moonlighting or Kool-Aid? That is the question. Michael
  36. 2 points
    They're being softened up for committing ritual suicide. Ellen
  37. 2 points
    LOL. Look at the amount of verbiage you produced when I didn't even cite a passage. What would I be in for if I did? Ellen btw, I haven't read any further than the sentence I quoted, just taken a quick glance. I truly don't have time for this stuff, much as literature interests me. I was merely letting Jon know that there are people who don't find Rand's calling the book "a poem" (loosely speaking) odd.
  38. 2 points
    She knows shit about predators. --Brant been there, done that, smack, smack, smack if humans weren't predators, we'd have eyes on the sides of our heads
  39. 2 points
    Correct. It's dogmatism: Dogmatism made this little dog taller than the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. J
  40. 2 points
    yep, pretty sure Castro took away the guns , not armed the counter revolutionaries as he calls them ( Gusanos )
  41. 2 points
    We now know that this is the mechanism behind the further rolling, but Aristotle didn't understand it, as I've shown in one of my previous posts. Therefore it is no longer a real puzzle for us, while it was an enigma for those guys in the past. But I'm glad to know that you now have also been converted to the Slipping School.
  42. 2 points
  43. 2 points
    Just for reference: here is the original text in Greek, Microsoft Word - ΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΑ ΤΕΛΙΚΟ-ΕΞΩΦΥΛΛΟ2.pdf and for those whose Greek is a bit rusty is here the translation (from http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Aristotle/Mechanica*.html): 24 A difficulty arises as to how it is that a greater circle when it revolves traces out a path of the same length as a smaller circle, if the two are concentric. When they are revolved separately, then the paths along which they travel are in the same ratio as their respective sizes. Again, assuming that the two have the same centre, sometimes the path along which they revolve is the same size as the smaller circle would travel independently, and sometimes it is the size of the larger circle's path. Now it is evident that the larger circle revolves along a larger path. For an examination of the angle which each circumference makes with its own diameter shows that the angle of the larger circle is larger, and of the smaller circle smaller, Bso that they bear the same ratio as that of the paths on which they travel bear to each. Yet on the other hand it is clear that they do revolve over the same distance, when they are described about the same centre; and thus it comes about that sometimes the revolution is equal to the path which the larger circle traces out, and sometimes to that of the smaller. Le ΔΖΓ be the greater circle and p389 ΕΗΒthe less, with Α as the centre of both. Let the line ΖΙ be the path traced by the circumference of the larger circle, when it travels independently, and ΗΚ the path travelled independently by the smaller circle, ΗΚ being equal to ΖΛ. Fig. 13 If I move the smaller circle I am moving the same centre, namely Α; now let the larger circle be attached to it. At the moment when ΑΒ becomes perpendicular to ΗΚ, ΑΓ also becomes perpendicular to ΖΛ; so that it will have invariably travelled the same distance, that is ΗΚ, the distance over which the circumference ΗΒ has travelled, and ΖΛ that over which ΖΓ has travelled. Now if the quadrant in each case has travelled an equal distance, it is obvious that the whole circle will travel over a distance equal to the whole circumference, so that when the line ΒΗ has reached the point Κ, then the arc of the circumference p391 ΖΓ will have travelled along ΖΛ, and the circle will have performed a complete revolution. Similarly, if I move the large circle and fit the small one to it, the two circles being concentric as before, the line ΑΒ will be perpendicular and vertical at the same time as ΑΓ, the latter to ΖΙ, the former to ΗΘ. So that whenever the one shall have traversed a distance equal to ΗΘ, and the other to ΖΙ, and ΖΑ has again become perpendicular to ΖΛ, and ΑΗ has again to ΗΚ, the points Η and Ζ will again be in their original positions at Θ and Ι. As, then, nowhere does the greater stop and wait for the less in such a way as to remain stationary for a time at the same point (for in both cases both are moving continuously), and as the smaller does not skip any point, it is remarkable that in the one case the greater should travel over a path equal to the smaller, and in the other case the smaller equal to the larger. It is indeed remarkable that as the movement is one all the time, that the same centre should in one case travel a large path and in the other a smaller one. For the same thing travelling at the same speed should always cover an equal path; and moving anything with the same velocity implies travelling over the same distance in both cases. To discover the cause of these things we may start with this axiom, that the same or equal forces move one mass more slowly and another more rapidly. Let us suppose that there is a body which has no natural movement of its own; if a body which has a natural movement of its own moves the former as well as itself, it will move more slowly than if it moved by itself; and it will be just the same if it naturally moves by itself, and nothing is p393 moved with it. It is impossible for it to have a greater movement than that which moves it; for it moves not with a motion of its own, 856Abut with that of the mover. Suppose that there are two circles, the greater Α and the lesser Β. If the lesser were to push the greater without revolving itself it is clear that the greater will travel along a straight path as far as it is pushed by the lesser. It must have been pushed as far as the small circle has moved. Therefore they have travelled over an equal amount of the straight path. So if the lesser circle were to push the larger while revolving, the latter would be revolved as well as pushed, and only so far as the smaller revolves, if it does not move at all by its own motion. For that which is moved must be moved just so far as the mover moves it; so the small circle has moved it so far and in such a way, e.g. in a circle over one foot (let this be the extent of the movement), and the greater circle has moved thus far. Similarly, if the greater circle moves the less, the small circle will move exactly as the greater does. (This will be true) whichever of the two circles is moved independently, whether fast or slowly; so the lesser circle will trace a path at the same velocity, and of the same length as the greater does. This, then, constitutes our difficulty, that they do not behave in the same way when joined together; that is to say, if one is moved by the other, not in a natural way nor by its own movement. For it makes no difference whether it is enclosed and fitted in or whether one is attached to the other. In the same way, when one produces the movement, and the other is moved by it, to whatever distance the one moves the other will also move. Now when one moves a circle which is p395 leaning against or suspended from another, one does not move it continuously; but when they are fastened about the same centre, the one must of necessity revolve with the other. But nevertheless the other does not move with its own motion, but just as if it had no motion. This also occurs if it has a motion of its own, but does not use it. When, then, the large circle moves the small one attached to it, the smaller one moves exactly as the larger one; when the small one is the mover, the larger one moves according to the other's movement. But when separated each of them has its own movement.15 If anyone objects that the two circles trace out unequal paths though they have the same centre, and move at the same speed, his argument is erroneous. It is true that both circles have the same centre, but this fact is only accidental, just as a thing might be both "musical" and "white." For the fact of each circle having the same centre does not affect it in the same way in the two cases. When the small circle produces the movement the centre, and origin of movement belongs to the small circle, but when the large circle produces the movement, the centre belongs to it. Therefore what produces the movement is not the same in both cases, though in a sense it is.16 16 The ambiguity of the phrase "path of a circle" has confused the argument. It may mean (1) movement of the centre; (2) movement of a point on the circumference; (3) e.g. the impression made by a tyre on a road. Probably Aristotle usually means (3). It is not easy to be sure whether he has seen the true solution of the problem, viz.: in one case the circle revolves on ΗΘ, while the larger circle both rolls and slips in ΖΙ. "both rolls and slips" again someone who says so, that must be a conspiracy! M
  44. 2 points
    I'm assuming that the left is temporarily back to fully selectively supporting presumption of innocence again, correct?
  45. 2 points
    Even more hilarious, how about all those dorks who donated money to Stormy Daniels' GoFundMe campaign for legal expenses? This money will now go to President Trump to pay his lawyers. How cool is that? Thanks, dorks... Michael
  46. 2 points
    So today I had an interesting post on my twitter feed. A person looking to purchase a rights managed image for an add campaign. So I sent her my personal email via Message in order to get more details. i sent her a link to the image she wanted and ten minutes later BAM! https://fineartamerica.com/saleannouncement.html?id=9becce4a0811b1bc99e633e17bff67ee Kinda cool eh?
  47. 2 points
    "I have my eye on you". (In effect) The president doesn't have to say much more, his implication, as regularly before, is if you (a country) want to be part of the civilised and rule of law-abiding group of nations -- then behave that way, with self-responsibility, and protect lives and property rights. (Otherwise, there could be economic consequences - and you know I can do it). Every other world leader, notably the UK, has shirked and played down the farm issue in South Africa, with a muted response only from an Australian govt. minister inviting farmers over there. Their chicken appeasement policy is clear, like the UK turned a blind eye after cutting loose Zimbabwe: they don't want to appear to be racist, patronising and post-imperialist. As it is, the outraged reactions in local media have been tiresomely predictable. Good for you, President Trump!
  48. 2 points
    Here's a nice term for social media giants doing crony corporatism with the government. They call it "partnership." Google something like the following: social media partnership with government and feast your eyes. Pay special attention to terms like "policy changes," "shaping government policy," and things like that. Not to mention controlling "harmful speech" and crap like that. On a skim, I've even read manipulating the public as a function of this kind of partnership. Of course to some people, this is a perfect example of laissez-faire capitalism. Michael
  49. 2 points
    Can a person really be economically coerced, or is it simply a choice? Was Cohen using the tapes for insurance or a way to blackmail President Trump? Can he be disbarred? In Maryland I don’t think you can record someone unless they know what your are doing. Peter From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 01:29:41 -0500 a.d. smith wrote: "Recently, I was arguing with an anarcho-socialist friend about fundamental political and ethical principles. I had stated that I was opposed to the use of force in social relations (except in retaliation). He said that I was inconsistent in that I was not opposed to the use of "economic coercion" (e.g., the threat of firing someone) as well as physical force. I was wondering how my fellow Atlanteans would reply to this argument I think I did a fairly good job in elucidating the differences between physical force and "economic coercion," but I could have done better. What would you guys have said in this situation?” I find that well-constructed examples and counter-examples can sometimes communicate the distinction better than abstract arguments, or at least serve as an introduction to them. Many years ago, during a college seminar on Marxism, my professor gave the following popular example: Suppose I am stranded in the middle of the desert, and I run across the only oasis in my vicinity. It is privately owned, and the owner tells me that I must (a) work for him at fifty cents per hour, or (b) stay off his property. And since he is charging $5,000 for the food and water that are required to sustain my life during the remainder of my journey, this means that I am being economically coerced -- indeed, enslaved -- since I must either accept the offer or face certain death. I responded by changing one condition of the example. The same oasis owner has more money than he knows what to do with, so (as before) he tells me that I must take a job to earn my supplies, but he now offers me $10,000 per hour instead of fifty cents. So now I can earn what I need in 30 minutes (during which the owner, who is starved for intellectual companionship, only requests that I talk to him about philosophy) and even walk away with a handsome surplus. The professor then protested, "But that's not a realistic example." "Neither is your example," I replied, "but that's not the point. The purpose of the example is to isolate the key elements that generate what you call economic coercion. If your example, in which I am economically coerced to work for 50 cents an hour is valid, then so is my example where I am economically coerced to work for $10,000 per hour by discussing philosophy. I didn't change anything essential in the hypothetical; all I did was change some details, which should be irrelevant to the point you are making. So if you claim that my example doesn't qualify as economic coercion, then why doesn't it? I will die just as surely if I turn down the offer for $10,000 as if I refuse to work for fifty cents. What's the difference? According to your definition, I am being coerced in either case -- but it sounds a little strange to say that I am being 'forced' to work at the higher wage. You are loading the example in your favor by including very low wages, but the amount of the wage is immaterial to the point you wish to make. Surely the validity of your argument should not depend solely on its emotional appeal, so it should make equal sense to take about a wage-slave who is forced to discuss philosophy at $10,000 per hour." I don't remember my exact words, of course, but the preceding is a fair representation of my argument. It took the discussion in some interesting directions that might otherwise have been overlooked – such as whether the CEO of a multinational corporation is also economically "coerced" to accept his multi-million dollar salary -- and the discussion ended when the Marxist professor said, "Well, I'll have to give some additional thought to your example." That's about as close to an unconditional surrender as a student is ever likely to get from a professor. Ghs From: BBfromM To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 04:40:33 EDT A. D. Smith wrote "Recently, I was arguing with an anarcho-socialist friend about fundamental political and ethical principles. I had stated that I was opposed to the use of force in social relations (except in retaliation). He said that I was inconsistent in that I was not opposed to the use of "economic coercion" (e.g., the threat of firing someone) as well as physical force.” There is no such thing as "economic coercion." We owe it to people not to use force against them; we do not owe it to them to supply them with employment nor to keep them employed if we do not choose to. People have a right to seek jobs; they do not have a right to *have* jobs if the employer finds them unsuitable. So to threaten an employee with firing is in no sense of the term "coercion." The job is not his by right, but only by the decision of the owner of the business. Barbara From: "a.d. smith" To: "George H. Smith" Subject: Re: ATL: Re: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 05:06:07 -0400 (EDT) On Fri, 27 Jul 2001, George H. Smith wrote: The example of the oasis brings up my friend's second basic argument --- the possibility that first-comers may claim all the natural resources in an area to the detriment of people who arrive in the area later. These people may hold their property without improving or with mixing only a token portion of their labor with it.(I pointed that historically most examples of land speculation of this type were made possible by the state, but his point was that even in a stateless society, this type of engrossing could be possible. My reply was that under a system of competing governments, a protection agency that enforced an obviously illegitimate claim to unimproved natural resources would likely arose the anger of the community at large). From: "William Dwyer" To: Atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Re: sophistry Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 09:34:02 -0700 a.d. smith wrote, >The example of the oasis brings up my friend's second basic argument --- the possibility that first-comers may claim all the natural resources in an area to the detriment of people who arrive in the area later. These people may hold their property without improving or with mixing only a token portion of their labor with it. > I fail to see how this is an argument against capitalism, since capitalism doesn't sanction this kind of unearned appropriation. In order to acquire property under capitalism, you need to mix your labor with a previously unowned resource, or acquire the property from its previous owner by mutual consent. Obviously, there are issues with regard to the specifics of acquiring previously unowned land, but these cannot form the basis of any serious argument against capitalism. I n any case, the Coase Theorem in economics (for which Ronald Coase was given the Nobel Prize) states that if property rights are clearly defined and transaction costs are low, resources will tend to flow towards their highest valued uses, regardless of who owns them. In other words, even assuming that people could appropriate land without mixing their labor with it, in a free-market economy, the land could be bid away in exchange for money. The highest bid would tend to reflect its most profitable uses, by reflecting what consumers would be most willing to spend their money on. Thus, under capitalism, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference how the property is initially acquired. It will eventually be allocated toward its most popular and desired uses. If laissez-faire capitalism existed in Latin America, for example, the large landed aristocracies would not last, because they would either be induced to sell their land at an exorbitant price, or to use it in ways that are the most profitable and consumer-friendly. Bill
  50. 2 points
    A mere three years? When government secrecy classifications routinely last ten, twenty, even fifty years, if indeed they're ever lifted at all? That's entirely unrealistic. Ye gads, Lyndon Johnson put an entire category of background sources for the Warren Commission under embargo until 2063. Disgorging such records can take generations. Many such exposés thus become timely whenever they're released. Fortunately, the Net and electronic infiltration tools are opening up more such archives, formal and informal, than ever before. Julian Assange of Wikileaks — now openly stalked for assassination by U.S. "Defense" Department operatives — is one of the true heroes of our time.