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About howardahood

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    Howard A Hood
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  1. OK, I am out of here. These people cannot discuss philosophical issues rationally. HH It's called self-esteem. I don't willingly make nice with people who would point a gun to my head and order me around. [NOTE FROM MSK: PHRASE DELETED.] Shayne
  2. I cannot tell what you mean but I repeat that I am making a distinction between those who merely consume narcotics and those who import, produce, and sell them. I am not in favor in favor of jailing people for injecting heroin, but I would not allow it to be sold at Wal-Mart. Howard Hood Absolutely. We MUST ban alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and cocoa NOW. Amen to that brother. sarcasm OFF. Seriously you have no business regulating what consenting adults do as long as no one's rights are violated.
  3. This is one issue I have never been able to resolve. Only human beings have rights, otherwise meat-eaters would be murderers. On the other hand, it seems intolerable for anybody to torture animals just for the fun of it. I suggest that the discussion be reframed. Instead of asking whether animals have rights, we might ask whether there is any justification for people to punish those who are needlessly cruel to animals? This approach might open up new lines of analysis. My assumption has been that AR would oppose laws against cruelty to animals and would limit the response to ostracism or
  4. Michael, I believe in absolute property rights. On this topic I am in full agreement with AR. Once you let government take a home or piece of land by force--even while paying--the wolf is inside the house. Taxes imposed on the general population are different, as I have suggested in another thread. Howard Hood
  5. One of the issues which have been puzzled me over the years is that of regulating dangerous drugs. I believe that the Objectivist position is that there should be no prohibition of drugs. Under this view, cocaine, heroin, and meth could be sold in Wal-Mart stores to any adult. I do not accept this idea. I propose that individuals who use dangerous drugs in violation of the law not be penalized, but that it remain illegal to produce and sell dangerous, addictive drugs. Meth factories would continue to be illegal, but if an individual uses the substance, he will not be jailed or fined for d
  6. The doctrine of eminent domain derives from the idea that the king owns all the land and if he wants yours, you have to give it to him. This doctrine was unfortunately incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution contains the words, "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." This statement implies that government can take private property by force, and indeed the government does this, but adds the requirement that the government must pay for it. The government itself decides how much it wants to pay and if the proper
  7. Michael, Discussion requires going from the simple to the more complex and detailed. Remember that Rand summarized her philosophy in four or five (?) statements. On the validity of taxation, I would ask a few of questions: 1. If government requires taxation (I believe so), and you (generic you) oppose taxation, aren't you an unadmitted anarchist? 2. How can a resident of a country rationally object to paying for having his rights protected? Is there a right to have others pay for the protection of your life and property? Someone has to pay for government; if you are not helping support th
  8. I speculate that if government were cut down to size, i.e., if every improper program and expenditure were eliminated, taxes at all levels might be reduced by at least 75%. A large share of local taxes goes to pay for public schools, for example, so all of that could be refunded. Abolishing corporate welfare, such as price supports for sugar and milk, would reduce the cost of living for most people. If government were cut back to essentials, the tax burden would be relatively light for everyone and would not be much of a policy issue. Howard Hood
  9. I can make the case that the only kind of taxation that is not theft is that which produces income needed to protect individual rights and which is fairly allocated among the general population. (I put fees and taxes relating to roads and public utilities in a separate category.) Taxing people and sending some of it to foreign dictators is theft and cannot be justified. Giving away tax money rather than using it to pay the proper expenses of government is theft. Reasonable taxation to pay for police, the army, the courts, etc., is not theft in my opinion. (Example of "unreasonable" taxatio
  10. Thanks, Michael. I don't know how the wind blows here and may offend. I will speak frankly. Always do. I knew the Brandens, the Holzers, Robert Hessen, Mike Berliner and his wife, George Reisman, and many others. I was not in the inner circle, but I had some contacts with people who were. I was permitted to attend the live NBI question periods in NYC and saw Ayn Rand in action many times. I was on the panel of Ayn Rand on Campus, a Columbia University radio program which was recorded in Rand's apartment. I saw AR speak many times and had a couple of private meetings with her and NB re
  11. Ayn Rand was at least two different people, and they had little in common with each other. As a novelist and philosopher, she was a brilliant intellectual and artist; in her private life she demanded adulation and agreement and was quite vindictive against those who failed to comply with her demands or who dared to challenge her ideas. Rand preached integrity and intellectual independence, but immediately ostracized anyone who practiced those virtues. You can understand how Rand could have had an affair with Nathaniel and then turn against him and try to destroy his career, if you remember o
  12. I just ran across this old thread and wanted to contribute. Harry Binswanger and I and a number of other people took NBI courses at Robert Efron's house in the Boston area in the early 1960s. A number of us were students at Harvard (me) and MIT (Harry). When we moved to NYC to continue our educations, we had many contacts with Objectivists, took courses, and attended NBI events. I was in NYC 1965-68. Harry and I were going to be roommates in Manhattan but we never found a suitable apartment and we lived in different places. Harry and I were both "true believers." I became a critical or