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Everything posted by jriggenbach

  1. I know someone else has made this point already on this thread, Wolf -- I haven't read the whole thread at this point, but I distinctly remember seeing such a post, maybe on p. 2 of the thread, by, I think, Ellen Stuttle (who can always be counted upon for thoughtful and informed comments, which is not to say that I agree with her about everything, including Rand's ideas on art) -- and I think she pointed out that to call a fiction writer a "naturalist" is to say of him or her, not just that s/he is a realist, but also that the fictional world s/he creates is one in which humans have no real free will but are the helpless, though unconscious pawns of larger forces over which they have no control. This is not the world of Raymond Chandler's novels. Chandler himself described his vision of Philip Marlowe (for those who haven't read Chandler, should any of them be reading this, Marlowe is the private detective who is the narrator and hero of all seven of Chandler's novels) in the following terms in his famous essay "The Simple Art of Murder": "Down these mean streets [the mean streets of the noir detective novel of which Chandler was the first and perhaps greatest master] a man must go who is not himself mean. who is neither tarnished nor afraid. . . . He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world." In a 1951 letter to a friend, Chandler wrote: "The private detective of fiction is a fantastic creation who acts and speaks like a real man. He can be completely realistic in every sense but one, that one sense being that in life as we know it such a man would not be a private detective." Does this sound like a "naturalist"? Which of Chandler's novels portrays either Marlowe or the other characters he moves among as helpless pawns of larger forces over which they have no control? I'd say a more accurate description of what Chandler was up to is "romantic realism." His fiction is not identical to the fiction Ayn Rand produced under the same rubric, but it is romantic realism all the same. Chandler's stories are far too stylized to be described as "realistic" in the usual sense, and they certainly don't qualify as "naturalist." JR
  2. I just dropped in after a couple of years to see what was going on around here. Same old, same old, I guess. BTW, the idea that Raymond Chandler was a "naturalist" is funnier than anything I've read in some weeks. JR
  3. "If a President of the United States had been portrayed this way in a work of fiction, I'd have thought it was badly written." Badly written? Or unpersuasively imagined? JR
  4. Steve was no more than 55. He told me his birth year the last time we saw each other, almost exactly a year ago in Long Beach, California. I think he said it was 1959, but I have a poor memory for facts of this kind, and I'm uncertain. I met him thirty years ago in Des Moines, when he was just recently out of college (either the University of Chicago or Northwestern - again my wretched memory for details). This is truly terrible news. JR
  5. > New format is too wide for the screen on my computer -- no one wants to scroll left to right all the time. The old format worked after a learning curve. [Phil] Yeah, as long as you didn't try to learn how to use the quote function. JR
  6. It is, of course, somewhat depressing to have to explain what I think was already clear to everyone else, but the entire post was an effort at humor. Perhaps I should take lessons on humor from "Selene." JR
  7. Thermodynamics is interesting and important, but it is surely not funny. Am I missing something? Ba'al Chatzaf Ask "Selene." I was just trying to get into the spirit of his sense of "humor." JR
  8. I realized that as well and had already corrected that part at 02:42 when you wrote this at 03:09. Sorry about letting the # 107 post from 02:41 still stand there (I thought I had deleted it but now see I forgot to do this). You had written: From which one can infer that in your opinion, Objectivism requires considerable mental effort for an intelligent person to understand well. ND replied. "I don't see what's so difficult about it." Now if you think "understanding Objectivism even as well as I do ... would take an intelligent person at least a few years", (JR), then there must be some difficulties contained in the philosophy. What are they? I used to have a policy of ignoring you entirely. It was clear to me from very early on that your stupidity and ignorance made it a waste of my time to communicate with you. I don't remember why I relaxed that policy, but please consider it reinstated. You may address me all you like, of course (I have no control over that), but I won't reply. JR
  9. "Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation. It interrelates macroscopic variables, such as temperature, volume and pressure, which describe physical properties of material bodies and radiation, which in this science are called thermodynamic systems." And it just keeps getting funnier! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermodynamics JR
  10. Just so you'll know, I do not listen to audios and I do not view videos online. It is pointless and useless to refer me to them. In short, you decide to close your eyes to audio-visual evidence even if you have it right in front of your nose. No use trying to open an irrelevant sideshow. It looks like you can't bring yourself to admit that you have been wrong. So again: the issue was not about "superiority of native speakers". I simply pointed out the fact that "Kant" is pronounced in German with a short "a". But I think you will know that by now. For it seems you did not believe it at first. Since you can't understand anything you read, why do you hang out here? JR
  11. Yet it's quite obvious that you've never understood it. JR What's so difficult to understand about Objectivism, JR? It was you who claimed you had difficulties with it, so I'm all ears. So you can't read either. Why am I not surprised? For the record, I never said I had difficulties with Objectivism. JR
  12. If I remember correctly, it was about ten years ago, in San Francisco, that I invited Phil to come over one evening for a meeting of a discussion group that had been founded around ten years before that by the economic historian Jeffrey Rogers Hummel. We had one or two other Ph.D.s in the group - the psychologist Michael Edelstein pops to mind - and even the non-Ph.D.s were highly intelligent people. The group met once a month to discuss a book or journal article we'd all read. I had thought Phil might like to join us. But, alas, it didn't work out. I think the problem was, fundamentally, that we (the members of the group) were libertarians, and I'm sure you can imagine the rest for yourselves. Most of us were nihilists, and several of us were into throwing spitwads at anyone who spoke in a dignified and serious manner. We mocked and lampooned such people, calling them "puffed up" and other childish names. Worst of all, we were neither benevolent nor civil. For example, if you can believe this, not a single one of the males among us had ever addressed any of our female members as a "cunt" (pronounced to rhyme with the last name of the eminent 18th Century German philosopher Immanuel Cunt) - not one of us! Needless to say, Phil found this nihilistic, boisterous, disrespectful atmosphere not much to his liking, and he never attended another of our meetings. Nostalgically, JR
  13. I know, Dennis. It is extremely embarrassing for all those of us who have to share this board with you - your strutting around expressing your moral indignation about how few Muslim civilians the U.S. government is murdering, that is. Your doctrine about how the murderer can just announce that someone else - the people who provoked him - is responsible for the murders - well, it's comical in a macabre sort of way, I suppose. But surely this can't be what you describe as "serious ideas"? Best, JR
  14. Were they German native speakers? If yes, I suppose they deliberately chose the English pronunciation. Would you recommend that a student of English emulate the pronunciation of Lyndon Johnson or George W. Bush on the grounds that both were "native speakers" of English? Is "nuclear" pronounced "nuke you ler" in English? The issue here is not about the indidividal, or dialectally-tinged, pronunciation of terms by native speakers, but about the standard pronunciation of a term, and the German standard pronunciation of "Kant" is with a short "a". This is simply a fact. See also Dennis Hardin's link in # 19 to the video. The first 4 times you hear "Kant" pronounced by the guy is the correct, standard German pronuncination. More info here (I was just looking for the thread in question but saw that Ghs has dug it up): The info there in addition to the 'audio-demonstration' provided in post #19 should suffice to clear things up for JR and remove all doubt. Just so you'll know, I do not listen to audios and I do not view videos online. It is pointless and useless to refer me to them. Now answer my question about "native speakers" of languages and their supposed superiority to anyone else speaking the language in question. JR
  15. I, by contrast, cannot imagine a more monstrous evil than refusing to attend Dennis Hardin's "discussion" group (punctuated, I'm sure, by frequent intervals in which Dennis jumps up and struts around the room expressing his moral outrage at this or that triviality). On second thought, maybe it's equally evil to attribute individual rights to life and property to residents of countries Dennis Hardin wants to bomb. JR
  16. Were they German native speakers? If yes, I suppose they deliberately chose the English pronunciation. Would you recommend that a student of English emulate the pronunciation of Lyndon Johnson or George W. Bush on the grounds that both were "native speakers" of English? Is "nuclear" pronounced "nuke you ler" in English?
  17. Where did you find a defense of "pacifism" on antiwar.com? I read the mission statement you linked, but it doesn't advocate pacifism or even discuss it. As far as I can tell, the folks at antiwar.com agree with the views expressed by Murray Rothbard -- and Rothbard was no pacifist. For a discussion and criticism of Rothbard's views, see the first part of my article, "Thinking About War," which was originally published in Liberty Magazine in 2008. http://www.ozarkia.n...ngAboutWar.html Ghs Dennis doesn't understand the meaning of the word "pacifism," just as he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "nihilism" or the meaning of the word "libertarianism." I think it's generally safe to assume that if he uses a word he probably doesn't have any idea what it means. Helpfully, JR
  18. Adam: "Used properly" - hmm, I suppose you mean in a specific context, 'contextual', to use an Objectivist term. Sure there exist contexts where the use of the term is appropriate in the given circumstances which form that context. ;) No onus probandi will be placed on you here, I simply believe you. And when I think about it, in today's times of public "slut walks", it would not be surprising if one day there are is also walks having other four-letter-words as a motto. Probably there already are. The German pronunciation of Kant is the same as of the English four-letter-word. How do you pronounce the "a" in Kant? As in British English "can't"? Kant is pronounced KAHNT - it rhymes with confidante, detente, and wont [not won't, but wont, as in "I am wont to do such and such.] This is, BTW, the pronunciation used by every professor of German I studied under in college. Cunt rhymes with punt, shunt, stunt, blunt, and hunt. JR
  19. Using "Kant" here might be quite problematic phonetically because the pronunciation of this name happens to be the same as that of an offensive English four-letter-slang term. Angela: It is not offensive to quite a number of women when used properly. Adam and yes, I have references And the pronunciation is the same only to those who pay no attention when they listen. JR
  20. No one wants to see innocent civilians die. However, when civilians are used as a cover for aggression, you either risk killing them or you lay down and surrender. The rights of the civilians are being violated by the original aggressors, not the people exercising their right of self-defense. (Of course, we should note that, in many cases, so-called "innocent civilians" are deliberately aiding the aggressors.) Could any honest person with any knowledge whatsoever of the theory of libertarianism not understand this? I don't think so. Ludwig von Mises acknowledged this when he said: This is also a quotation from antiwar.com. They really should take it down, because it clearly implies that force against aggressors is justified. It shows the folly of all of the other quotes on their website which openly condemn acting selfishly—and morally--in the name of self-defense. The obvious fact is that the explicit pacifism advocated by antiwar.com plays into the hands of the terrorists. If terrorists are not giving financial support to this website, they are missing a good bet. The implicit moral philosophy of antiwar.com is self-sacrifice, i.e., if someone points a gun at you with the intent of killing you, you have no right to try to kill them first. You just have to either talk the aggressor out of killing you--or die. It is important that anyone new to Objectivism not confuse this kind of simple-minded idiocy with the ideas of Ayn Rand. And, of course, pacifism and appeasement invariably lead to the exact opposite of what pacifists claim to oppose: more aggression, as we see with North Korea's flagrant acts of war against South Korea. We may soon see a much more destructive demonstration of this principle if Iran continues on its current path of "peaceful" nuclear development, and—as antiwar dot com seems to hope—the U.S. turns its back on Israel. I have numerous complaints about our government's handling of the so-called "war on terror." I have no doubt that our military and other government agencies occasionally engage in wrongful behavior, and I condemn that. On the other hand, I have to wonder how many Americans are alive today because we do not follow the claptrap perpetrated by websites like antiwar.com. It has been ten years since 9-11. Are libertarians so deranged in their hatred of all government that they do not see that our military and the efforts of agencies such as the FBI, with all their faults and missteps, may well be the reason they are alive today? No doubt the FBI, et. al., are guilty of improperly violating the privacy of private citizens and groups in some cases, and they deserve to be punished for that when it occurs. The fact remains that, given our current political climate and all the obstacles thrown in their path, they are dong an amazing job of keeping Americans safe. The irony is that, because they have done such a magnificent job of preventing further attacks, people (many OL members included) have begun to think that the 'war on terror' is no longer a big deal, so we are free to lampoon the military and other agencies responsible rather than applaud their success. How has the war on terror served the goal of self-defense? While Al Quaeda is a nongovernment operation, it can only survive with government protection and funding. It counts heavily on sympathetic regimes to provide them with financial support and safe harbor—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan (and previously, the Taliban). And the brave terrorist operatives typically hide behind the cover of civilian populations, making it impossible to attack them without killing civilians. In many cases the civilians are also sympathetic and do their part to protect the whereabouts of the Islamists. The U.S. government has no choice but to target areas where intelligence data indicates Al Quaeda operatives are hiding regardless of whether civilians may be in harm's way. It is sacrificial and immoral to put ground troops in harm's way when a foreign nation is protecting our enemies and bombs or drones can do the job. Could any honest person with any knowledge whatsoever of the reality of international terrorism not know this? I don't think so. I have a multitude of complaints regarding the conduct of US foreign policy, starting with the fact that our "leaders" lack the moral courage to prosecute the war in a way that minimizes the risks to our troops. Instead, our soldiers are frequently and needlessly endangered in order to minimize the potential for civilian casualties and the resulting negative 'world opinion.' This amounts to pure moral cowardice on our government's part. It is a wonder that the morale of our heroic troops remains as high as it is. The inconsistency of our foreign policy is also abhorrent. The war in Iraq was a disaster from day one, and a monumental waste of thousands of innocent American lives—not to mention billions of tax dollars. It was a war founded on the corrupt, immoral premise of self-sacrifice for the sake of "democracy." If stopping terrorism had been our actual motivation, Iran would have been the obvious target, not Iraq. Today, we remain mute against the suppression of freedom-loving protestors in Iran and look the other way as Syria slaughters its citizens. We turn on allies such as Mubarrak in Egypt and join the fight against Qaddafi—a disgusting, murderous thug if there ever was one--even though the Libyan rebels may well be sympathetic to Al Qaeda. The premise of antiwar.com seems to be an unconditional rejection of all forms of warfare. So these "libertarians" are not questioning whether our military action in Afghanistan was a valid exercise of "self-defense.' They do not recognize a nation's right of military self-defense. (Or if they do, they think it unimportant to clarify this, suggesting that any such claim is subterfuge and lip-service.) It simply is not possible to oppose military force of any kind and yet be an advocate of freedom. No one is that stupid. (Even OL members who claim to not understand how the war in Afghanistan represented self-defense can be that stupid.) You cannot believe that people should be free from force, yet claim that a person has no right to stop force initiated by others. The brazen defiance of logic is too absurd. Those who say they support this explicitly pacifist website are sanctioning that premise. I have to question whether they can possibly hold such beliefs and also advocate liberty. I have to wonder if they believe in liberty at all. The policies they are advocating will obviously lead to the exact opposite—the unrestrained growth of tyranny. Could any honest person with any knowledge whatsoever of history not know this? I don't think so. So what are we to make of the "libertarians" who support antiwar.com? If it doesn't walk like a duck and it doesn't quack like a duck, yet says "Yes, yes! Please believe me! I'm a duck!"—is it a duck? I don't think so. If not libertarians, what are they then? Your guess is as good as mine. And who cares? Does Dennis Hardin have even the faintest clue what the phrase "individual liberty" means? I think not. In evidence I submit his ignorant and offensive post above. JR
  21. Your ignorance is really extremely tiresome, Phil - though perhaps not as tiresome as your inability to think logically. How would I know whether any Hollywood film has ever been released in which one version or another of every scene shot was used, so that there was nothing left over but outtakes? How would you know? And how, pray tell, do you know that any interviews were done at the time of the filming of the first part of Atlas Shrugged? Did your 13 year old friend tell you? Plenty of Hollywood films have been released on DVD with no deleted scenes and with no interviews. Is this always because the people who produced the DVD were incompetent amateurs less prepared than you would have been to do their jobs? Or could it possibly be that they know something you don't? Such as that, for whatever reason, no usable interviews were obtained or that one version or another of every scene shot ended up being used in the final edit? You ask if I am "under the impression that those who run the world of Objectivism get everything right and are successful in all their projects? And that therefore it's illegitimate to criticize?" Not at all. But I am under the impression that you think they never do anything right, and that if you were in charge everything would be much, much better. And I consider this view even more laughable than the one you wonder if I hold. JR
  22. They were put out on LP's in the early 70's, I know someone who has a set. So there couldn't be anything from the 80's. I'd be interested to see a real conceptual concordance between Branden's course and Peikoff's. A quick addendum to my earlier post: the something in the book that is from the '80s is the essay "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand," which is clearly identified as an epilogue to the book and is not presented as one of the original NBI lectures. JR
  23. They were put out on LP's in the early 70's, I know someone who has a set. So there couldn't be anything from the 80's. I'd be interested to see a real conceptual concordance between Branden's course and Peikoff's. Interestingly (to me at any rate), the lecture on "The Literary Method of Ayn Rand" was included in the vinyl set marketed by Academic Associates (AA) in the early '70s, despite the fact that it had been published, as Dennis notes, in Who Is Ayn Rand? a decade earlier. At that point (the early '70s), Nathaniel had deliberately killed Who Is Ayn Rand? - he owned the copyright and he refused permission to reprint it. So including it in the version of the lecture course marketed by AA might have seemed to him a way to save that particular piece of work from oblivion (which I agree it was good to do; it's probably the most insightful bit of literary criticism I've ever seen on Rand's fiction). Since I never heard any of the NBI lectures before the break, except for the introductory lecture (I was a starving student in those years and it was all I could afford to buy the books and subscribe to The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist), I've always wondered what the exact line up of lectures had been in the course before 1968. It sounds as though the answer is that it varied. JR