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About oklibrarian

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    Sarah Clark
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  1. Helium's one of those sites that I'm forever having to tell students to not cite in their assignments because of the utter lack of authoritativeness. Honestly, you're better off looking in wikipedia than on sites like this and examiner.com, a similar aggregator. When being paid per hit, sensationalism leads to higher profits than accuracy. I wanted to look into this one but have been too busy today--thanks for sharing your findings.
  2. If giggling helplessly at that is wrong, I don't want to be right.
  3. I know too much about physics to really hope for that. However, back in my college days I dated a physics/engineering double major who had grown up in a town with a nuclear plant, and who worked summers there as an intern. What I know about nuclear energy, waste disposal, etc would fit on the head of a pin, but in those pre-9/11 days he was able to show me around a surprising amount of the facility, and I was really impressed with the safety measures in place as well as the general level of expertise and professionalism. The Simpsons it wasn't. I realize there are issues with waste storage and disposal, but somehow today when I look back on that plant nestled on the bank of a river, surrounded by some truly stunning countryside, as well as all the nuclear plants I saw during my travels in europe, and compare those visions with what's currently happening in the gulf, I wonder if it's time to revisit nuclear power.
  4. Epic win! That's going on Facebook. Thanks for Sharing...
  5. Speaking as a relative newbie to Objectivism, I am very interested in this series based on the snippet you posted, but the price tag above gave me significant pause. Just one more datapoint from a more casual potential customer who is newer to the material, and Rand in general.
  6. You are absolutely correct that governments are formed of men. Good governments are governments of men, not of institutionalized authority. However, I don't necessarily agree that it follows governments create a collectivist effect. The corollary to your premise here is that all efforts between men result in collectivism, and that is simply not true. There is nothing especially different about a government and a family, a government and a corporation, a government and a contract, a government and men doing stuff together... At least, this is how I believe Objectivism views a government. 2 The benefits of a government, other than those previously listed, are that individual behaviors that deviate from norms (a sudden emotional desire to kill someone) are harnessed by the effort of other men. In this way, sudden individual arbitrary impulses do not hijack and destroy the system. In essence, men form an agreement to come to each other's aid when they are dealing with trouble related to infringment of rights. This is quite awesome if you ask me. A big step up from mere tribalism. However, I like your thoughts, and I like the way you see things. Your ideas are generally true for what governments have done historically. The difference is that Objectivism strives to describe how a government can and should operate. You must stop deferring your logic to your perception of Objectivism to understand my point. Your life should not be about what Ayn Rand would do and should be about what you will do. Advocates of government rely on the "that's just the way things are" concept. If some men are always going to thieve or assault (or whatever) other men, don't write a code of morality against their seemingly amoral actions. Because as soon as you accept that it's going to happen you give it sanction. So deal with threats to you individually and not deliberately as a collective. Others may aide you, too, but not under an arbitrary banner of moral obligation or collective virtue. They'll help out of rational self interest. And if they don't, you nor anyone else holds authority to make them. The problem, Bryce, is that there *is* a difference between how many should act according to Objectivism (or any other -ism) and how they do act. If people always (or even typically) grokked and acted according to their own rational self interest, I would agree with your comments. But as Christopher states above, many don't, and that lack of understanding (or caring about) the logical result of their actions can and does have wider implications on fully rational humans who act in their enlightened self interest*. Plus, there's the issue of unforeseen effects. An injustice that appears not to be your problem can suddenly and unexpectedly have side effects on you and yours. For a Laissez-faire economic system, it seems you have to have as many people as possible, or at least a critical mass, who are willing and able to understand and act in something resembling their own enlightened self-interest. So the questions become: 1. How do we educate people to understand and act more effectively in their own self-interest, and to react effectively when others' actions and/or sheer dumb luck bring misfortune to their doorstep? 2. How do we protect the rest of society from the bad actors, while mankind evolves into a more rational state? 3. When two individuals or groups' rational self-interests conflict, how do we resolve the dispute? Until the happy day comes when we're all turned into Vulcans, Human history suggests we will have to have some sort of government to help solve, or at least ameliorate, the damage that human nature can and does inflict on us. Too little oversight, and there's nobody but yourself to protect the laissez-faire capitalists from being taken out by snipers, or from being defrauded by more "civilized" breaches of contracts. On the other hand, when you institute too much oversight, you kill innovation, and the rest of your economy follows. Extreme ideas and complex schemes for governance don't have a particularly great track record, at least in my reading of world history. It seems that in an imperfect world populated by imperfect humans, the most people are afforded the most opportunity for innovation and prosperity by striking a balance between security and liberty, and the ideal balance point is impacted substantially by what is going on in the world as a whole. Decisions that made sense in 1960 may not be the proper solution in 2010. Then again, they may be. That's where human reasoning and debate come in, and why we have intelligent people on both sides of the political divide. Objectivism and Laissez-Faire capitalism are two of the sturdiest hammers humans have come up with in recent history. However, one needs to make sure your problem is a nail before you start whacking away at it. Sarah *I am not at all convinced that a "fully rational human who acts in his enlightened self interest" exists in nature, at least I haven't met one in a varied career that has put me in close contact with intellectuals, engineers, businessmen, software developers, lawyers and other professions renowned for their cool rationality. I would like to think I live happily devoid of blind spots and that my Logos invariably overrules my Pathos. However, self-delusion, of that type at least, is on the very short list of "Flaws I do not have".
  7. No worries, I've modded enough writing communities in my time to understand the whole Benevolent Dictatorship Ray Shields Around Galt's Gulch thing is somewhat necessary to keep something resembling order online. And after perusing some more threads, there certainly appear to be some, er, Drama-Prone segments of the wider O-ist community...
  8. Alternately, he may own the site and thus be able to see your IP address when you post. What does the number 12 mean to you? It’s in the thread description and now you invoke it again to estimate how long he spent researching your whereabouts. Is it your motif? When I think 12, I think apostles. Or puberty. Or months. But anyway, welcome to our jungle. Well, yes, that as well. #12? not sure. I'm an atheist and well past puberty, I think it's just where my fingers landed. Nearly typed 18 seconds, but decided that was a bit long for a google query. But maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something...
  9. That's how I do it, there are just a few sad folks who don't really post anything *beyond* that. I could go on a rant about that, but I just watched the "Game" Episode of ST:TNG with my husband over Dinner, so the topic of addiction's fresh in my brain.
  10. Thanks for the warm welcome! To be is to do - Socrates To do is to be - Sartre Do be do be do - Sinatra (-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.) Did I pass? You are either a skilled judge of regional nuance based on a few obvious clues or spent 12 seconds on google. Either way, Kudos. :-) As for the "critical and independent thought" thing, IMHO most of the world's problems have been or can be solved with a creative application of the human brain. (Courage and compassion are handy too, mind, but only to the extent they're aimed in the best possible direction in a given situation) I'm already enjoying both the lighter and denser conversations taking place around here, and think that this may have the makings of a pleasant online niche. Thanks, Bill! :-) as for old threads, I have been devouring quite a few, especially the Objectivist Philosophy areas. It's been 10+ years since my last philosophy class (when I fled screaming from the discipline after being forced to read Derrida AND write a paper that agreed with his theories), and the metaphysics and epistemology sections have been a very nice chance to get that flabby corner of my brain back in shape. Thanks Kat! I'm still slowly making my way through the forums, but need to search to see if there's a recent-ish thread discussing her book. If not, I might start one up to get folks' take on it... (ETA: Found the Monster Thread on the book, and am currently plowing through...) Sarah
  11. If a colleague (same or higher level than I) sends a friend request, I accept it. I do not seek out professional friends on facebook, and I do not accept requests from subordinates or our student employees for reasons which should be obvious. That said, my privacy level is fairly locked down, and I have NEVER (no, never) posted anything on facebook or a similar social network that I would not be comfortable with my mom and/or my boss reading. I use other channels to communicate with close online friends at levels beyond the superficial. I do reserve the right to hide colleagues' posts and think less of them as professionals if, upon friending, I am deluged with 129 automated requests for assistance with the daily milking on said colleague's virtual cattle ranch. Sarah
  12. Hello, I'm Sarah Clark, a College Librarian. I suspect I fell into that profession in part because I've been instinctively checking my premises since childhood. I also fell into it because I love this part of the country, Bible Belt warts and all, and want to teach the many bright and striving "nontraditional" students that come through our school how to think critically and transcend all the dogmas that hold them and us back (Hence the user name). I'm married with 2 cats, and enjoy vegetable gardening, reading, writing both fiction and non-, RPGs (the old-fashioned kind that involve dice and face-to-face human interaction), cooking, and sundry other hobbies and intellectual curiosities. My worldview, to the extent I have a coherent one, is shaped largely by portions of the Stoics, George Orwell, Camille Paglia (in the sexual personae days before she got addicted to the sound of her own voice), and more recently some moderate political thinkers like Andrew Sullivan (when he's not being overly emo) and Bruce Bartlett. The current bit of heavy reading on my Kindle app is The Icarus Syndrome by Peter Beinart, which is well worth a perusal for those interested in the intersection of American history, politics, and foreign policy over the last century. Aside from reading Anthem about 15 years ago during high school, My intro to Rand is relatively recent. About 3 months ago, I picked up the recent biography by Anne Heller, and though there was plenty there not to like about Rand, and several points I think Objectivism gets wrong (or on which it is at least insufficiently nuanced), I was struck by the force of her personality, her basic optimism about individual human potential, and a lot of the broad points of her thinking that were radical then but appear self evident now. Naturally, it was time to read Atlas Shrugged. Upon putting it down, I was generally impressed, if again not swayed on several key points. I wanted to learn more, as a fiscally conservative Democrat who wound up as such less because she adored the welfare state* than because she was not a bigoted Fundamentalist Christian. My moderately eclectic life to date has made me anti-dogma, and that goes for left, right, center, or any other direction. I'm also dubious about any worldview that assumes any group of people are an undifferentiated mob thinking and acting in a stereotyped lockstep. Those sorts of oversimplifications have rarely ended well for either the oversimplifiers or the oversimplified. Gurus and blind worship also leave me cold. That's why I was dubious, to say the least, when I started googling around to find a Objectivist forum where I could talk to other achievers and test out some newly forming premises without being subjected to ideological purity tests I would inevitably (and happily) flunk. I was pleasantly surprised to find OL, and have been browsing through the forums, generally impressed with the level of critical and independent thought on display. I doubt I'll have much to add in the short term as I'm still taking my early steps into understanding and selectively incorporating this new (to me) paradigm, but I felt it was high time to create an account and say hello. I look forward to knowing you all better. Regards, Sarah *I don't necessarily *hate* the welfare state either, but as a ex-TANF caseworker I have some strong opinions on its structural flaws which are beyond the scope of this intro post.