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Everything posted by Christopher

  1. That is the straight-forward answer. In addition is the idea of living environment stretching beyond the boundaries of personal property. In nature throughout the entire history of man, including man's genetic evolution, we are predisposed to live in an environment far larger than that simply designated for private "ownership." For example, man once lived in tundras, forests, etc. where certain spaces are individually occupied with living quarters, but the wider area is open to movement. As such, a social-political philosophy that assumes all land can and should be privately owned would be inconsistent with man's nature. I think as a society we attempt to account for this by having state and national parks, including state beaches (which is what the beaches in California are designated). In other words, man's environment is common space + personal space. This is where I believe voting has a role. I don't know if Objectivist theory accounts for the concept "common space" in any meaningful way.
  2. Forget the evil bit, what I'm saying is that accidents occur, and so we must be wary of the consequences for allowing offshore drilling. Whether that accident occurs in shallow water or not, the accident is unpredictable and therefore it must be accepted as a possibility. An accident off the coast of California is a cost that citizens are not willing to risk (myself strongly included), and I think that the California citizens have the final vote. Is there a cost? Sure, a little bit of oil will not come from this part of the world. Perhaps the cost of oil will rise a slight slight fraction above current prices (but even that is doubtful). Finally, there is no "big bad" government preventing offshore drilling near California, this is the voice of the citizens. If the citizens of Louisiana and Florida voted to ban drilling in U.S. waters off their coasts, that is their right. In fact, I'm surprised that Louisiana state legislators want to continue drilling to support the engineers. That's a very very small population percentage-wise, and I wonder whether the total population of Louisiana agrees with these legislators. But here in California, these beaches are our living environment. Liberty allows us the right to protect that environment, liberty does not give a green card to producers. You've been very defensive lately I've noticed. The Beck bit seems to have heated you up. Don't let it
  3. This is an interesting proposition, and I could agree with it. This government-corporate bedding is, as I understand it, why regulations were so lax as to allow the spill and lack of backup safety measures to occur in the first place. But basically sifting through the posts, there are only two arguments that seem to be contradicting the above points: 1. the price is not driven by speculators, the price is driven by hedgers. Well the point here is that price is not driven by hard supply, it is driven by factors that are relatively irrelevant to the amount we drill in the United States. 2. the spill would have been less worse if it had happened in more shallow waters. Well this is just a silly argument. Basically it's not about the spill occurring, it's about containing the spill after a catastrophe. If a spill occurs in 500ft depth and took 10 days to contain, I wonder whether the damage would be environmentally worse than a spill that occurs far out but takes months to contain. Look at Ixtoc, it was one of the worst spills and occurred at 160ft depth!! Bla to the depth argument then! However, such a consideration is irrelevant anyway. When it's a matter of the lesser evil, we're ignoring the source of evil occurring in the first place. Perhaps the nail on the head is lack of appropriate government oversight and regulations that limit liability.
  4. Reading through the Horizon oil spill on Wikipedia, eventually we come down to the political argument allowing for offshore drilling: Now I don't know about you, but my understanding is pretty much that all oil production goes into a general pot that is distributed internationally. I mean, that's basic economics. Oil is an international commodity, and companies tapping oil in the USA (regardless if it's Chevron or British Petroleum) don't seem silly enough to restrict trade of the product to a single market. Maybe if the whole world goes to war, then we might need to depend on ourselves... but at that point, there are bigger problems. And I am very damn glad that California has remained steadfast in banning offshore drilling. It was a catastrophe off the coast of California, just like Horizon, that led to the original banning. Some say that loosening drilling restrictions will prevent disasters, but clearly this is not the case. And just to be clear on pricing, speculation drives the price, not hard-commodity supply/demand. Besides, given recent events in Silicon Valley over the past few years, when oil prices go up, innovation skyrockets in the energy industry. And when the oil finally does reach low supply, innovation is the only thing that will make transition to a new energy source more smooth.
  5. Other than busting BP's chops, what has Obama really in assistance to stopping the damage? Does anyone know?
  6. Good video. What I find ironic is that Obama was compared and judged according to standards that were setup in antithesis to Bush. In other words, Obama's failures are that he takes actions similar to Bush. It's impossible to condone this video against Obama and hold a pro-Bush position (unless one is irrationally blinded by favor). Blablabla, but nobody listens, they just hold opinions regardless.
  7. Irrational bias, eh? Ignoring the article that started this thread and some of the discussion surrounding Beck's claim as an entertainer, eh? Them be fighten' words! I've wasted my time and found some discrepancies when I listened to him awhile back. I didn't bother to remember them (but I will say I actually liked him before I found breaches to his integrity). If I feel like wasting more time, I can do it again and pick apart his arguments for you. At the moment, I'm not so inclined. He had his fair chance, and I've already evaluated him.
  8. Ultimately we can only make judgments on two facets: a person's values, and a person's integrity to those values. My awareness to Beck is that he has good values and terrible integrity. Values without integrity is value-less. I'm not the one who originated the assertion that Beck is good for America because he helps others see good values. My assertion is that we ABSOLUTELY should not trust someone if they lack integrity to those values, regardless of what those values are. Therefore, we should not trust nor support Beck. Edit - I was adding this to the new Fox News section, but it belongs in addition to this post: Why not add Rush Limbaugh in equal support with Beck? He holds similar values to Beck. And if you read Rush, you see how contorted his logic is in applying those values selectively to situations that suits some deeper agenda/values we do not explicitly observe. That, my friend, is why integrity is so important.
  9. Interesting. Some good stuff, some not so accurate stuff. I really liked the perspective on cash-for-clunkers. That was a stupid program for so many reasons. I disagree that Americans need to start "producing more." The "products" that Americans produce are far more valuable than the creation of trinkets for a home kitchen. It's like saying Intel is worthless, but refrigerators are the next big thing. Overall, interesting video.
  10. Look, it's really not that Glenn Beck is helping people think. All those who vouch for him here are already self-thinkers, so the discussion is about those who don't essentially think for themselves. And I've met this latter type who follow Beck. They agree with Beck, but their opinions are the opinions of Beck, not self-generated. Is he helping America? Not from my perspective. If anything, he's rallying people into a group that he controls. Hitler had some healthy stuff to say at the beginning of his campaigning as well. It didn't help anyone. There's a big difference between an MSK who follows Beck and the average person who follows Beck, and I'll tell you: MSK doesn't need Beck, but the other persons do. That's why Beck is at best unnecessary and at worst a manipulative leader. IMHO
  11. I have it from inside the oil industry that Bush was the one who essentially allowed existing regulations to lax through non-enforcement. What a great guy our previous president was, eh! All business and no safety. Anyway, thank god they banned drilling off California.
  12. I liked CNA's post, particularly the quote "It is YOUR LIFE." I'm going to remember that when I raise my child before I decide whether certain behaviors demand punishment I don't think anyone doubts the virtue of self-responsibility on this forum. But I'd like to point out that crazy behavior demonstrated by these sorority girls might be precisely because they had parents/society who didn't acknowledge that it was their life. Impulsive lawless behavior could easily be a reaction to over-control, not the case in CNA's childhood from what I gather. Rebellion (or at least escape)! Wild behavior is not causeless, and I think it could be argued that it is often a release from some pressure, some attack on the self that one is reacting against. After all, humans act with a reason, and pure hedonic pleasure is rarely a stand-alone force that operates dominantly in a healthy person. So I see the healthiest response to this article as confirming both that individuals are responsible for their actions but that society and parents contribute to problems. If we want a healthy society full of healthy individuals, I think we need to address both issues.
  13. Hey, obviously I agree this is not the most appropriate behavior in the world. But if the bills are paid for damages, and if no one was harmed (the bartender clothing thing is definitely immoral), then I think people have a right to get crazy once in awhile. It's probably healthy for them. Think John Lennon's "Lost Weekend." I'm reading a sociology book for fun right now (because, I guess... that's what I do) and it discusses drugs and other related illegal activities, justifying these activities as a necessary exhaust gauge in society precisely because the society cannot completely provide its members a scope of "culturally-condoned" behaviors that is sufficiently healthy for the soul. In more simpler terms: culture and society are limited in their ability to offer people all that is required for health, and some social constraints actually create artificial tensions that people cope with through seemingly-crazy behaviors. So before blaming these kids, think about what artificial outside social pressures they endured that might have led to this clearly anti-establishment behavior. If our judgment of their behavior is itself societally-condoned, we may be contributing to the cause.
  14. Dan, I had previously calculated 30% figure for taxes, which includes income tax, double-tax (tax on income earned to pay tax), and sales tax. Thus, a $300 television actually costs $400. But I did not think about corporate taxes inflating initial product prices. The article suggests 27.5% for corporate-side taxes should be in addition to 30% base consumer tax. Good point. Maybe that's a little high - the article highlights that industry matters, and taxing corporations is taxing the consumers of those industries. Also, the idea of rising debt and interest paid to that debt suggests that the efficiency of our tax dollars is also diminishing. It's not clear how that figures in, but clearly it does. So I'll be conservative and say that we pay 40% of our income to taxes minimum (for those middle-class and above). Scary number. * correction: my initial 30% actually should be 45-50%. That's taking a 30% tax rate, 30% tax on the income that goes to paying taxes (roughly 8%), and 9% sales tax. So 45% + 10% = 55%. But there are some justified expenses such as infrastructure, national security, etc. that are paid by this 55%. So I'm probably only being ripped off, oh not more than 40% :0
  15. Moral development theory by Lawrence Kohlberg explains this quite clearly: Pre-conventional morality is based on pure selfishness/punishment: "I want" Conventional morality is based on lawfulness to the system: "That's the rules" Post-Conventional morality is based on universal principles irrespective of law: "Because it is right" Hopefully we all can figure out which way development flows.
  16. Just as an aside, it should be noted that need-fulfillment is an issue that concerns health more than it concerns survival (although the two are interlinked). Man can survive without fulfilling several of his needs, but he generally does not experience as fulfilling a life. Fulfilling by whose standards? Fulfilling by the standards of the men who have lived without and with the need fulfilled, and who then make self-report on their experience. Scientifically, I don't think there is much doubt that approval adds to the fulfillment experience of others. It's not the need for approval per se that Objectivism questions, I think it is "approval at what cost"
  17. The Capitalist Manifesto by Epstein might have some useful information. I read it awhile ago, and while I can't remember it making any new or unique arguments, if I recall correctly it provided evidence in support of Rand's basic arguments for Capitalism and against Socialism.
  18. I was fond of conversing with Adam on the forum, and his absence was noticed. Although I can obviously make no statement concerning these charges, the continued opportunity to discuss Objectivism with him through this forum would be good.
  19. It's a rough day in the world when one must survive on one's own savings. Some might say Armageddon. I call it life. ... but to be fair, he was probably overtaxed during his working days in the first place.
  20. It sounds more to me like the show is an advertisement rather than an actual ethical program. Perhaps a 'political MTV.' I'm just saying...
  21. Yes, there have been some pretty sick examples of science into humanities. It depends what we mean by science as well. Logical deduction and integration between data is what is required for successful research. Successful research advances fields like psychology and sociology. Quantum mechanics was also mentioned in context of Objectivism. I think it's silly for philosophy to try to independently explain epistemology and ontology. That's the epitome of being unscientific. Objectivist Epistemology is a brilliant work, it's good rationalization from limited facts. And it's not actually true in many respects based on observations over the last half-century. So do we follow the Bible (OE), or do we follow what we observe? * I'd like to add: philosophy is liberal arts, and damn straight it could use science to improve
  22. I've posted my opinion on this whole topic before, but I think this has nothing to do with Objectivist philosophy. If anything, Galt's issue with Obama's citizenship is anti-Objectivist and totally irrational. This whole arbitrary approach to law - hating it when it doesn't serve you but accepting it when it furthers your goals (in the absence of any ideology) - is the same self-serving nature that 95% of the population already has. Who cares whether Obama is a fully-certified natural-born citizen! Baahh!
  23. Darn, I'd wish you would summarize. So looonnnggggg. :/ I read the first part of it. Anyway, it should come as no surprise that man needs approval from others. We're deeply-social animals who naturally integrate into a cultural system of roles, symbolism, and systematic knowledge. For example, both a sense of hierarchy and a sense of community are hardwired functions within the mind. As children, we also associate approval with security and safety through our family. We have hugely-primative needs to experience approval because that's how a child feels he/she generates safety in youth. Everybody is young and helpless at some point, so this need for approval (which in its most healthy state is a need for love) is quite natural. As we grow older, we become more independent of direct dependency, but we depend to a greater degree on a community. Hence, I think the desire to be accepted into a community survives across all ages as a legitimate human need. That said, the mirror idea of Branden's romantic love theory is also very interesting, and I have found no evidence yet to contradict it. Buber's I-Thou theory states that we are both an independent identity as well as a relational identity, and health is achieved through the balance of the two. Balance seems to require that the relational side, which is essentially reflection between two people, sees and confirms the independent side. What we know is that neuroses in the relational side (not being seen) might result in the individual being consumed by a relationship (in order to stay connected with people) or suppressing the relational side (and human connection) in a desperate attempt to hold onto a sense of individuality. Fascinating topic, interesting article.
  24. Right. What else can they (providers) do? If the system crashes and they lose information that has a market value of $1000x1000 users, property of the users, they're screwed. Pointless risk.