geekgirl

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Posts posted by geekgirl

  1. I have to say, this is totally interesting... but out of my usual areas of expertise, as well. Maybe there are answers in Artificial Intelligence research?

    Perhaps my question may be a bit oblique: how would one even devise a test for such a thing? And doing so, what would the answers even mean? If the test subject is found to form concepts in a particular way; it doesn't presume that it would be the only way, does it? Some autistic kids have show some pretty unusual thought processes; there may be many ways. The process could also change given the context; i.e. subject in danger, intoxicated, brain damage, etc. Plus, couldn't there be some sort of bias inherent in the exploration? After all, we are using our concept formation process to form a concept about itself, right?

    The reason this topic intrigues me so much is I dated a programmer that worked on one of those automated vehicles for the first DARPA challenge, and possibly the biggest problem in the whole AI field right at the time was pattern recognition... getting software (intelligence?) to recognize an object. They aren't anywhere near getting software to think about abstractions, but solid objects is a good first step. His team was using embedded 3d reference images of certain objects the vehicle would encounter, and the software would scan constantly against these reference images. The problem was that it was hard to recognize a 3d object when you didn't know how it was rotated, if it was partially obscured, badly lit, etc. (And it used waaaay too much processing power) That whole line of thinking eventually didn't pan out... now they try to get the "eyes" to recognize certain artificial constructs (edges, right angles, etc) and deduce from there against another reference catalog. this works somewhat better, but its still clunky. (Really makes you appreciate what the brain does effortlessly every day.)

    Once you have an object "understood" though, AI can handle it pretty well. All the casinos have sophisticated AI security that tries to identify every person it sees, all the time. Once it identifies you as a person, it creates space for you in it's system, and will tag you on every video surveillance throughout the casino. The security people can actually ask the system what subject X has been doing, and it will pull up all the video from all the cameras you appeared in, and lay it out chronologically. Kinda scary, really.

    But the only reason they can do that is because the system already knows what a human looks like.

    For years, Homeland Security and the NSA have been persuing a similar kind of system for deducing patterns in chaotic pools of data. (The NSA's been at it with project Eschelon since the 90s.) The best way I heard it described was that they wanted a system that would recognize that 7 of the people about to board a plane had cell phones purchased at the same store, yet they weren't sitting together. I bet the NSA has some interesting insights into pattern recognition. (a sister to concept formation?)

    But the system still required an operator to define the searches.

    Which is why I wonder if this is even possible. All the approaches they try have the same thing in common: they need to know what it is before they recognize it, essentially. Roughly, AI has to borrow our concepts so it can form its own.

    Perhaps all of ours are borrowed too?

    (ok, enough wine for me, tonight!)

  2. My culture is within me. I'd sell my stuff to men from Mars. The Brits hit the skids a long time ago. Why worry about them now?

    --Brant

    If you have any culture in you, it has been put there by the creative works and actions of other people. Culture, by it's nature and definition, requires more than one person. Its a collaborative effort. The culture - the social environment that surrounds you - largely defines the direction of growth of the individuals in it. The quickest way to destroy (or re-build) a country is through its culture. To think it of so little importance as to defend (or even, recognize) is a little short-sighted.

  3. YOu are using the concept "right to defend national borders" in an equivocal sense.

    Sense 1 (by allusion to common usage of the phrase): Defend borders from invasion by troops of another nation. OF COURSE there is a right to self-defense.

    Sense 2: Preventing immigration.

    Yes on 1, No on 2.

    Sense 2 - - - silly as a matter of policy to prevent immigration with the POSSIBLE exception of immigration of someone with identifiable hostile intent (terrorism)

    Bill P

    I totally agree with you in principle. And a priority should be given to establishing reliable, consistent, fair, LEGAL, avenues for immigration. But what concerns me is the overall size of the wave we are talking about. This wave of Latino immigration is as large as all the previous waves (Irish, Italian, etc) combined.

    England's a perfect example of what I worry about. Labour Party docs that were leaked form the 80s show that they were explicitly working on loosening immigration controls to ensure future voting blocs - precisely what the Left here is seeking to do. Many years and millions of immigrants later, England has given every job created in that time to immigrants, so their employment has remained stagnant. And British culture - where is it? Where are the monty pythons, young ones, absolutely fabulouses, and fawlty towers? There's nothing "uniquely British" anymore, it seems. They traded their prosperity and identity for a Labour lock on power.

    Can't immigration be a danger to one's culture and economy simply because of the un-regulated size of it?

  4. I totally hear you. I'm a freelance web/graphics/flash designer programmer server tech who just fled the northeast for virtually the same reason. All the tech companies out there have laid off their IT staff, the region is littered with design colleges RISD, BROWN, BU, etc., and all the students are saturating the market doing work for almost free to "get started on their portfolios". (There's over 50,000 students in my fields of expertise in Boston alone). It's not quite the same as seeing your job go overseas; but it's certainly being priced out of the market.

    Plus, there's huge competition with sites like squarespace - which have essentially automated many of my skills. So, my profession is constantly being outsourced to robots. (And, I have to admit, they do a really good job at squarespace)

    On the positive side, if you've ever seen this episode of 30days:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0833623/

    I found it eye-opening. Some of the outsourcing can be a good thing, and ultimately - in an odd way, beneficial to us.

    I'm not sure its beneficial enough in the long run, however, to offset the destruction all of this is doing now.

    The only secret I have found to dealing with it is to constantly keep moving, evolving, and adapting.

  5. Again with the blame-shifting... You are ignorant, pretentious, and presumptuous, and at least two of those are pet peeves of mine.

    My God, SJW, you really are in your own little world, aren't you? It's just a topic on a web forum, get a grip. I am using it as a tool to get to know YOU. Why would I even care enough to shift blame in any way? What, exactly, is at stake that I would need to resort to such "tactics"? Like I said in the original post, it's not like there's any wrong answers... I'm just trying to understand yours, that's all.

    You should be happy I made the effort; you're really not that interesting. In fact, really... who cares?

  6. Allow me to further clarify my earlier brief comment. Conservatives are not only not individualists, they are not closer to a libertarian position than contemporary liberals. On balance, I'd say they're worse than contemporary liberals.

    JR

    I guess we need to start comparing crayons again... who would you consider a contemporary conservative and/or liberal?

    Because if you're talking classicly liberal (pre 30s), then I'd agree. But if you're talking about the current generic liberal class identity which is really just cover for progressives... things are a lot muddier.

  7. Hint: When something is confusing you, then you might want to consider, and I mean seriously consider, that you're confused, and that the solution is to not blame the other party, but rather to expend a good deal of energy trying to figure out what is going on. Or, you can just stay in your state of innocent simplicity. I think some might even find that to be cute.

    Hint: communication is a two-way street. It is just as important for me to attempt to understand you, as it is for you to attempt to make yourself understood. I can seemingly grasp everyone else's crayon box - whether I agree with their arrangement or not - pretty easily. Yours, not so much. The reason I keep asking questions is that I am trying, trying to understand. I still haven't decided whether you are trying to make it a deliberately complicated process or not. You probably do think its cute. And that's probably why you're doing it.

    But you know what, after a while, even curious people like me are just going to shrug and say, "really, who cares?"

  8. O.K., except that C-SPAN is not funded by the government. It is totally funded by the cable TV industry.

    I totally did not know that. I knew that cable companies were required to make the space and carry it, but I didn't know they actually funded equipment/staff/production/etc. That makes it even cooler and even more in line with what I like - a private corporation that does it better! :) I guess it means the hunt for Things The Government Does Well goes on...

  9. Here's another helpful excercise. In a discussion with a liberal friend - (actually, she fancies herself a socialist, but really leans more Marxist... and then, surprisingly, has frequent bouts of Libertarianism she hasn't quite integrated ;) ) - about the "center" of the political media universe. Everyone keeps trying to portray FOX news as hard Right and MSNBC somewhere near the center, but I think most media saavy folk know that's not quite right. But a stupidly simple smack-the-forehead idea appeared: the center of the political media universe is CSPAN. Right?

    I used to do a lot of audio/video production in the late 90s, and I totally love the hands-off approach CSPAN uses. Very little editing. Almost zero commentary. Dreadfully boring at times. My favorite part, really, is how they leave the mics on long before and after normal coverage wraps, so you can hear the reporters talking freely off script. (sometimes you hear the juiciest stuff!) I've done audio editing for conservative talk radio and podcasts, and I always was able to grab good media from CSPAN.

    I'll even go so far as to say CSPAN has been one of the few govt expenditures I can support. Looking back on it, they're boringly impartial and have done more for transparency than any single entity I can think of. My last really big coding job (still ongoing, in some ways) was a broadcast streaming network for a record label back east... and when I saw CSPAN finished digitally archiving all of its broadcasts online, well, it made me horny, baby. A toast to CSPAN! (and that's the last of the pink champagne)

    So what about that? Can we agree that CSPAN is a good reference point for center? If not, what else?

  10. In that sense, Left/Right as terms are not very useful. But there most definitely are two sides, there most definitely is a Left and Right... there is one side of joiners and another, loners.

    See JR's comment above.

    Conservatives may not be individualists, but what they believe is a hell of a lot more individualistic than marxism or communism. You have to start playing ball with at least the people who like the same game. Can a baseball player play with a softball player? Sure. A cricket player? Maybe. Hockey? Not likely. The problem with humans is they're all different; so if you're waiting for another player with your exact appreciation of the game and your exact stats... you may be sitting on the bench alone a long long time.

    Wow. In my original response to you I said Leftism was associated with communist ideals, and you think that means total freedom. Are you a communist?

    Nope. I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the communist party. One minute the communists are on the left and the conservatives are on the right, the next you appear to put all govt on the chart and yourself, off the chart. The overall impression is fuzzy with a chance of lunacy. Your political classification is like a little pinball machine - zipping back and forth, pinging and buzzing, lotta lights... but what it all means in the end <shrug> i don't know. I offered this topic not only because I think it's revealing in some ways and I'd like to get to know all of you, but this kind of exercise can help get one's own thoughts in order. If I feel like I'm playing a game of hot/cold with you... that because I think that's how you roll. If I seem like I don't have a clue what you think; that's because I don't.

    But you should consider it positive for the moment that at least I consider you interesting enough to try to find out.

    Generally I see the left and the right as different mixtures of rights-respecting and rights-violating ideals. I do not see one as any better than the other. As I said above, the best division is between those who are for individual rights, and those who are not. To fascists and communists, that position seems like anarchism, but it's not.

    That, I can understand... but you're back in my crayon box now. I divide along individual/group. The more group-centric your ideology, the more you are going to inevitably trample on individual rights, and vice versa. Not seeing one better than the other shows a complete lack of discrimination, does it not? One thing Rand taught was to discriminate. "Once you have determined that one side is black and the other is white, you have no justification for choosing a mixture of the two." (from The Cult of Moral Grayness) I am supposing that this admonition would also include resigning everything to black and going home, as well.

    I get the feeling that we have very similar crayon boxes, actually, but I also get the feeling that you take your individualism to the point where you constantly look for reasons not to agree. To remain alone, perhaps?

  11. I'm my opinion, the self-styled Left has appropriated the terms Left and Right from the French Revolution in order to avoid calling themselves what they really are, Communists and Fellow-Travelers.

    If you want to reject the Left/Right paradigm, I think that's a good idea, but once you've done that, it's a stolen concept to be using the term "Left" to smear everyone that fits under its heading. Really all you've done is reject the term Right, which is interesting.

    The "Left" has traditionally been associated with civil liberties. In fact if you start talking about the Bill of Rights some on the Right would start accusing you of being a Leftist. Thomas Paine is categorized on the Left, and many on the Right are happy with that, particularly the religious Right.

    Broad strokes, keep it simple. Once you start discussing the origins and evolution of "liberal" and start importing "right and left" from the European Political scene... well, its all downhill from there. In that sense, Left/Right as terms are not very useful. But there most definitely are two sides, there most definitely is a Left and Right... there is one side of joiners and another, loners.

    You seem to place any form of govt on the right side of the spectrum, and total freedom on the left - are you an anarchist?

    A people can only handle as much freedom as they can be responsible for. A truly enlightened people could make anarchy work.

  12. Mary Lee Harsha: I'm not sure a perfect system is possible, or even desireable. A blog I read once made the case that Freedom of Religion is not about religion, it's about thought. There's that Bill Maher line about how he "doesn't believe in an old man sitting up in the clouds that gets angry when I masturbate..." But there are people that do. And they need to be allowed to think that. People need to be able to believe whatever outlandish stupid crazy thing they want... because every great Truth started as a heresy. A perfect system would be sterile. I guess the best you can hope for is a framework that can withstand the battering and be flexible enough to survive. It's really quite amazing how long this constitution has survived, given the treatment its endured.

    That being said, one of the most recent travesties of justice: Hamdan Vs. Rumsfeld. I mean, regardless of what you think about holding people at GITMO... Stevens just turned the whole applecart over and walked away. Total idiot.

  13. Maybe in physics there is One Truth but not in mathematics. There exist consistent geometries, Euclidean and non-Euclidean which are pairwise contradictory or contrary. They both cannot be true of the same spatial manifold at the same time.

    Mathematics is a Big Tent discipline. The only requirement is logical consistency.

    Ba'al Chatzaf

    Exactly! The Harmony of the Spheres! :)

    (But, add a little chaos, and the whole thing goes to hell...)

    And if you wanted to get really nuts, you could start to make comparisons of the urge to join and the urge to stay apart with the weak and strong forces.

  14. Fundamental conflict: those who embrace reason vs. irrationalists who don't

    Left: generally communist ideals

    Right: generally fascist ideals

    Rand described left/right as those who chose one or other side of the mind-body dichotomy.

    I divide along individuality, you divide along truth. Perhaps we argue different sides of the same coin? What I don't understand is why you put communist at the polar opposite of fascist; they are really very similar. I mean it's not a big leap from Mussolini's "fascism is everything inside the State, nothing outside of the State" to the State owing everything.

    Could we say that the more irrational you are, the more likely you are willing to sacrifice your individuality to a collective?

    How would a theocracy fit into this, or a monarchy?

  15. After perusing much of this site, I have to say one of the more confusing things is what I've always called, "the crayon box problem". This, of course is from the old stoner joke: "Dude, how do I know if what I think is blue, and what you think is blue, is really blue?" Answer: "Check the f'ing crayon box."

    The philosophical portion of the question is virtually ancient, and can even go back to Plato and his "pure forms" argument. The overall problem when we start talking in abstractions and ideas, is that there is no universal crayon box to refer to.

    Which brings me to Left and Right. I was excited when I saw the Left/Right Libertarian topic on the list - but it was just a link to a confusing article from someone with a another totally different crayon box to refer to. Some of you, I think have a totally different crayon box from everyone else. Some of you are unsure of where the colors go, they just keep their most used ones up front. And one of you even seems to keep a special box that has crayons labeled in spanish, and they seem to enjoy refuting everyone's english color chart questions based on them. (Blue? There is no such thing. I have a crayon labelled, Azul, which you obviously are too stupid to understand). I think this is because they desperately want to think that their crayon box is *special* and *better* somehow.

    <whew>

    So, in the interest of clearing some of this up (or muddying it further), I thought I'd share how I organize my crayon box, and some of you can open your boxes... keep in mind, there ultimately are no right answers. There may be general agreements on some things, but it's kind of a quantum thing - I expect it to get more confusing as we look at it.

    For me, I believe the fundamental political conflict throughout all of human history is the individual vs the group.

    On the Right side of the spectrum, are the individuals. The ideologies on this side are Libertarianism, Conservatism, Objectivism, etc.... with anarchy being as far right/individualistic as you can get. The individuals on the Right tend to stay apart... they are The Loners.

    On the Left, are the groups and collectives. Socialism, Communism, Progressivism... the far far Left being a complete totalitarian dictatorship. They are The Joiners.

    What this has done for me through the years, it has explained a few oddities which I continually see popping up as questions around here.

    Like: Why don't Objectivists comment on current events? Which really boils down to a question of proselytization. The unstated comparison involved in this question has to do with non-objectivists, which seem to constantly proselytize.

    Objectivist's failure in this regard has been attributed - by some - to Rand's faulty ideas, or the Objectivist's inability to live up to them. (Or, confusingly, both.) However, in my crayon box, the answer is simple: Individuals don't proselytize. Groups do. (Usually, for the sake of creating new group members). A bunch of loners are not going to suddenly start indoctrinating people to "not be a Joiner". Loners are much more tolerant of individual differences... Joiners are engaged in a constant effort to destroy the differences and assimilate. Kinda like the Borg. They don't like differences, or lumps under the blanket... they want their blankets smooth and featureless. This is why the Left always tries to impose standards of behavior onto people; they think the best solution to people who don't agree with them is to convert or destroy them. The Right just ignores them.

    This is why the Right always seems disorganized. We don't have "community organizers" on our side. Why we don't want unions. Why we're inherently distrustful of any organized portion of our society (say, HHS) compelling the disorganized elements to submit and comply. And the Left, if you notice, is all about unions and groups and mass protests. They are drawn to consolidations of power just as much as we are averse to it.

    It also explains the Tea Party Movement. The TPM has been unusual in that it is one of the first times (in my memory) that the Right has actually gotten together as a group and did anything. The Left always marches - getting a bunch of Joiners to go join a march is easy; getting a bunch of Loners to show up in the same place and cooperate is quite a trick. SO there is a natural tension between Left and Right - the urge to join, the urge to stay apart.

    Most of the media coverage of TPM has been from the Left and is focused on how disorganized they are. Then, there's the criticisms of their message: too many people, and they don't even believe the same thing. Then they try to tar the movement as exclusionary - racist, bigoted, etc. These are all the things a Joiner would fear, aren't they?

    The loose, de-centralized organization is exactly what you would expect from a movement on the Right; a movement of individuals. The only unifying theme throughout all of it is the terror of the Loners as they see the Joiners taking too much control.

    The thing that terrifies the Left most about the TPM is that its happening at all. Literally thousands of parties and millions of individuals later, and the Left still cannot grasp what they want or why they're there... and the usual tactic of humiliation just doesn't work like it used to. And it reveals the shameless ploy behind all their Leftist marches: it's a fraudulent imitation. A rip-off of the Real Thing.

    When thousands of individuals gather somewhere to demand a redress from their govt, it's a powerful thing. Some of the finest moments in our history have been when we have come together as individuals to be a part of a collective effort. So, when a small minority of the population wants to take more control from the rest of us, what do they do? They get all their unions and 527 groups and coalitions for change and national socialist workers parties and united for change community organizers to show up and give the appearance of a mass of individuals. This is fundamentally important: the Left seeks power by imitating a powerful, natural, individualistic phenomenon. That's why the Left's marches are almost always astro turf; while the Right's marches are almost always grass roots (and, as such, happen far less frequently).

    This is also why - if you've read my posts - I don't really care about the finer points dividing various individuals and their interpretation or adherence to some Objectivist screed... in a movement of individuals, it's to be expected that we all have different crayon boxes. That's the beauty of it. To sit around and debate the differences between Red, Fire Red, Sunset Red, and (my favorite) Corvette Red is pointless while there's a wave of blues outside the door, waiting to crash in and steal everyone's crayon boxes. The intolerance a few of you seem to have for anything that does not adhere to your strict interpretation of Objectivism is counterproductive; it only serves to keep us apart. We should be embracing the Red, and not worrying about the shades. Those of you that aim to stay "above the fray" by calling the rest of us posers, are the worst kind of purists. Puritanical, even. It's like you have one Crayon in your box, and you're not going to tell anyone what it is.

    All that being said, how is your crayon box set up? Are there any colors I've missed in mine? It might be helpful to start in broad strokes - because like most quantum things, it can devolve into a mess at the finer level.

  16. Michael Stuart Kelly: Thank you so much for that! That actually helps quite a bit... I find that it depresses me as well. I have to say I totally agree with her - the primary battlefield should be education first, politics, second. The problem is... how's that going exactly? I'm not sure there's much of any Objectivist thought in the education system at any level. It's certainly nowhere near as prevalent as Leftist thought. My God, imagine if Atlas was actually assigned reading? Imagine if it was being taught with the intensity, say, global warming is. We wouldn't even have to worry about the politics. Leftism would barely exist, and they would be jokes. We could concern ourselves with debates between Libertarianism, conservatism, objectivism, etc.

    My only concern is that due to the rather (ahem) slow progress on the education front, that the political front has been lost completely. Have you seen IndoctrinateU? If we have to start with education... at this rate, we may never get there.

    Mary Lee Harsha: you're totally right about Frederick Bastiat. In fact, that encompassess everything I feel right now - DO SOMETHING! The reason we are in such bad shape right now is because we ignored the politics for so long. (And the education, apparently) We allowed essentially enemies of the state to define us. Now we find ourselves in a situation where we have to actually make a case for individual freedom. Don't fret the libertarians - would you prefer the marxists? Anything we do to begin dragging the country back from collective destruction to individual prosperity is a good thing.

    Selene: loved the French reference point! Isn't it amazing, from the Fall of Rome to the Raping of the US Treasury; some things

    never change. Our biggest threat is always from people who think they can bring about utopia through micromanagement. (And of course, they're always happy to skim a little off the top along the way.) What was it Reagan said - "democrat fiscal policy: if it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it." In fact, I just found an unopened bottle of completely cliche pink champagne - a new year's toast to France!

  17. I would like to hear your thoughts on getting involved in the redistricting process which will:

    1) be highly political; and

    2) be an excellent opportunity to advance our ideas in the State legislatures.

    I am currently working on the creation of an organization to attack the traditional Gerrymandering that is engaged in by both political parties.

    Its as good a place as any to start; there's been so many bastardizations of the system, its hard to know where to begin. Gerrymandering is one of the roots of evil... along with public sector unions, the voting machines, and foreign campaign cash. The secret to this, I would think, would be to propose a new system that seems corrupt-proof and tinker-proof. You would force the gerrymanderers to defend the indefensible.

    Someone told me once that the founder's original plan was to simply "grid" each state to create districts... I don't know if that's true, but it appeals to the programmer in me. :) Simple, impartial, and inflexible. Probably not fool-proof either - but it would take a few years before they game that system. Programmers get very apolitical when they talk code, they know exactly what variables to tweak to stabilize a system. Something simple that creates squares of equal size would at least have logical appeal.

    I would actually be curious what Google would say about it; I'm becoming less of a fan of the company as time goes on, but I must admit one thing Google has, is data. If anyone could map the population distribution of the country and create an algorithm to evenly disperse precincts, they could. But, then again, it should probably be something simple, nothing that requires a mainframe to support our freedoms. Can you imagine having a mathematical formula in the constitution?

    In any case, if you are going to attempt this; you should have a uniform solution ready that obviously ends this whole game once and for all. People are in the mood today for change - but change that actually solves problems. If you have that solution, the mood is there to support it, I believe.

    I'm not sure how you would attack it strategically. Are these boundary lines determined in a formal session, or largely a backroom deal, or is there any kind of townhall involvement?

  18. And you give me a video about how peer pressure works, and then said that you don't engage - essentially - because you don't believe. I asked you then what the point of your visit is, then.

    Stopped reading here. You really need to drop the silly presumptions, I said no such thing.

    So, here's what you actually said:

    But I would also say that actually being right is even more important than engagement. And there's the rub when it comes to Rand's Objectivism. She was wrong on important matters, both in her emphasis and in her principles.

    And, then there's this little ditty from your opening post:

    Are they too cowardly to take a stand, or are they trying to see just how culturally irrelevant they can be?

    Let me get this absolutely clear: when discussing why objectivists do not engage over current events, you believe that they don't because 1) its more important to be right than engage (with the unstated assumption that they are not right), and 2) Rand was wrong on the important stuff, both in emphasis and principle (leaving nothing left to be right about). Therefore, she is only right when it's nothing important or anything she places emphasis on or her principles? You don't say Rand is wrong, just that she's not right. And two more reasons you give for objectivists not engaging are cowardice or cultural irrelevancy?

    The mode of communication you use is revealing: you don't communicate by the statements you make, you communicate by inference, followed by denial.

    So, yes, you are correct, you said no such thing. It's just that what you did say, left no other conclusion to be reached. You never said she was wrong... you just said she was never right. And cowards. And culturally irrelevant.

    What a bizarre way to communicate. In some ways, it's awesome (for you) - you get to say whatever daft and stupid thing you'd like, then go after people who respond to your meaning, instead of the actual words. You always have a retreat you can hide behind.

    So what do you mean, then? Do I take your meaning as your opinion, or the words you use to hide it? Far be it for me to put words in your mouth... but you don't seem to be on the side of objectivism. And the words you leave lying around seem to be the important ones.

    Most people here are not actually Objectivists (at least, not according to Rand's idea of Objectivist, which is I think the right way to define them), if you stick around a bit you'll find out. That's why I pointed you to an actual Objectivist list. I think you'll fit in better there, ignorant presumption and Objectivism go hand in hand, seeing as how they confuse being right about everything with self-esteem

    So, the objectivistliving website is not the place to discuss objectivism with people who understand it and enjoy it? And when I stumbled on this site and was intrigued by the thread, that, apparently was a mistake. I should go over to the other site you mentioned and start a new thread there with the same topic - and there won't be anyone like you, there? Promise?

    Tell you what, I'm going to go over to the PERLmongers website and start a vigorous discussion about how much better JAVA is. And when people get pissed about why I'm spending so much time on a PERL site, dissing PERL, I can just tell them that I'm not dissing PERL, I just think JAVA's better. And when they ask why I am bothering to post all this crap on the PERL site, I give them a link to another PERL site for them to post at, telling them maybe they belong there?

    And you think I'm lost?

    I'm starting to think you're either 1) too much of a purist to be of use to anyone, even your own kind or 2) you're just a troll that has staked out a nice comfortable toll route at this bridge.

    I came here to find discussion from like minds. I'm still not sure why you're here. Perhaps you just like being the turd in the punch bowl, I don't know.

    The capper on it all is the crack at the end about self-esteem. This was one of Rand's principles... that a human needs to be efficacious - capable, useful, correct, RIGHT - in order to truly have self-esteem. You aren't sure that you're right... you're just so sure that Rand was wrong. (There's that communication, again!) And your primary fixation is to instinctively tear down anyone around you who seems to be sure that they are right. (Wow, Rand, spelled that one out) You apparently spend countless hours hanging around forums for people who don't believe what you do, pissing on their parade. And you started this thread; go figure.

    Look, I'm not trying to start a flame war, and I'm not going to pursue any conversation with you any further... I am really interested in hearing from objectivists (or at least people who count themselves as such) who want to talk about engaging the public in political discussions about objectivism, using current cultural events as a springboard. I've laid all my reason and ideas in the open at your feet - but I still don't know what you believe, just that we all suck for our beliefs. I am not the one with the self esteem problem - that's why you're here, not I. You're a classic.

  19. My, you are presumptuous and defensive aren't you? How about you learn little bit about someone before jumping to those kinds of conclusions. And you could try being less of a hypocrite as well -- sitting in your armchair lecturing us about lectures being lectures (and pretending to know all about who I am and what I know without bothering to ask what I think and why). How rich. The Internet is about communication -- and you use it to complain about people using it for communication. What silliness.

    Shayne

    The topic of the thread (may I paraphrase) is "why don't objectivists discuss current [political] events?". Following that, there were a few posts about grammar. A couple about abstractions of abstractions. Then, I forced the conversation back on track and tried to refocus it. (I know, I'm a bitch like that) I gave examples from my own life, opined about the necessity to engage your political opposition instead of ceding ground by default, and the virtues of using current events as "teachable moments".

    And you give me a video about how peer pressure works, and then said that you don't engage - essentially - because you don't believe. I asked you then what the point of your visit is, then.

    I wouldn't call any of that defensive. Curious. Precocious? Bold. Spunky. Upsetting. Provocative. Fresh. Slightly confrontational. Challenging? Perhaps a bit too blunt? Too much Socrates, not enough Plato?

    Maybe we should back up a bit, since you seem to be the odd apple in the bunch. You don't think objectivists should engage over current events because you don't believe Rand's ideas ultimately have any validity - am I correct in my evaluation of your position? If I'm wrong, it's because you haven't really exactly clearly stated it.

    This doesn't really put me in a defensive position - but you certainly seem upset. And your anger seems to be most focused when I try to force you out of ambiguity, and into some kind of certainty. So why not explain to me why someone who doesn't appear to believe in objectivism continues to post on objectivistliving about topics they neither care about, nor eventually address? In fact, the one thing my challenges to you have done is made you uncomfortable about your own un-declared position somehow.

    Everyone knows why I'm here. I'm an objectivist. I advocate for that position. I have come to an objectivist website and was intrigued by this thread, so I registered and have enjoyed pushing all of you a bit to stand up and make some noise. Get out of the armchairs. Actually get in the fray. My biggest complaint is that we are NOT proactive enough; and that position (I think) should be obvious.

    I know I'm the new girl, and I don't really mean to be "challenging your credentials"... but, after all your posts and indignation, I still can't figure out - why are you here?

  20. But I would also say that actually being right is even more important than engagement.

    Of course; and us objectivists are always about Truth - it's how we got here in the first place, isn't it?

    But such considerations don't seem to stop the Leftists, do they? They barely have half a truth between the lot of them, yet it hasn't stopped them from making a complete mess of the world.

    Before I get off completely on the wrong foot, I have to say I loved the video; although it's a bit emblematic of the situation here in general, isn't it? (And I don't mean the actual video's content.) I'm trying to push you all into this uncomfortable discussion about engagement... and you provide me with a lovely, scholarly video about the pyschological mechanics behind peer pressure. And, back we are in the armchairs... more brandy, anyone?

    Here's a great video about the Science of Kissing:

    Awesome! But what really did you learn? Now, if you didn't know anything about kissing, you know everything you need to know, right? But at some point, it must occur to any of us, that to really know anything... we simply need to jump in and do it. To really get out and experience the world and truly learn anything, you have to leave the armchairs behind.

    And there's the rub when it comes to Rand's Objectivism. She was wrong on important matters, both in her emphasis and in her principles.

    And this is the rub I have with you. You see, I don't think she was wrong. I don't think she was done - she was refining her views right up until the end - but she was by no means wrong; her experience was always evolving. "Errors in knowledge are not breaches of morality. No valid moral code can demand infallibility."

    I finished Atlas Shrugged three years ago (it was my doin the laundry book, and it took a year), and since then I've been listening to pieces of that and other works on mp3. I leave it on shuffle in the background while I code. I have Galt's speech from Atlas, Philosophy - who needs it?, The Virtue of Selfishness, her Donahue interview, etc. Then there's also movies like Sense of Life, and a History channel doc who's name escapes me at the moment. I even grabbed all the youTube videos pairing Galt's speech with visuals.

    The one thing I've been impressed with throughout all of it though, is how right she is. It's virtually timeless - the things she talks about in Atlas make so much sense in light of the current Obama worldview, she's virtually a prophet. (Metaphysicians are everywhere; some of them are even called community organizers. :lol: ) I constantly hear phrases while I work that make me stop and shake my head about how right she STILL is.

    Socialism IS a quest for unearned value. Half the American southwest is a national monument right now, thanks to our newest Monument Builders. The Cult of Moral Grayness is still alive... they REALLY do hate black and white simply to preserve the advantages of both. You really can't love that which you don't value... and you have to value yourself before you can really love at all. The argument from intimidation was used on me just two days ago... and Ayn's recommended solutions worked. There really are people that only seem to know how to trade Need for Value - I just worked on a project with a guy who seemingly never had anything but Need to trade. (And I eventually explained it to him in those terms.)

    We can sit around and argue the finer points - that's most of the conversation here, apparently - but it's precisely the fundamentals in which she was correct. I am reminded constantly in my daily life that this is so. The only part I even think she was a little wrong about has to do with the spiritual/metaphysical... but only because she was a product of her time. (And we now have quantum physics to help!)

    But... if you don't think she was right in principles or emphasis... then why are you here? What you're saying, pretty much, is that she was only occasionally accidentally right. (Wow, go easy on the praise, there!) And... that you don't want to engage on her behalf because she's mostly wrong?

    Are you just a troll, shaking up the silly Randians? Or, maybe, you are secretly hoping someone will smack you and wake you from your stupor? Why not go to DailyKos and talk Ayn Rand there - you're sure to get more agreement.

    And even if you harbor some suspicion that it may not be "all right", do you honestly prefer the "political morality" we're living under today? There's nothing right about what's going on right now. Nothing. Tell me you haven't thought of Stanley Mooch at least once in the past year, when you heard of some new Obama edict handed down from on high. If you did, well that was Ayn being right; the proof being reality.

  21. I am a freelance graphic artist/webdesigner/flash designer/perl programmer/audiovideo tech that recently fled the blue northeast for Texas. A little bit o "goin Galt" you could say... I haven't quite dropped out entirely, but I'm certainly becoming harder to find ;-)

    Engagement is the key to everything, I think. It is, after all, the way the Left propogates its propaganda, isn't it? And Ayn showed us how to deal with the Argument From Intimidation: you stand up to it. ("In today's world, it's not enough to be right, one has to KNOW that one is right") Don't think I get angry or violent or confrontational... I've found the most effective way is to simply play dumb and ask a million questions about what a Leftist believes. They are so used to people just folding under their bluff, they're not used to having to explain or defend any of it. After a few exchanges, it's usually pretty easy to trap them in some logical nonsense or make them drop the push altogether. In any case; I don't make it easy. If they intend to bluff their way through an intellectual discussion, I intend to make them work for it and fight for every inch of ground. I make sure that after talking to me, the Leftists will have second (and third) thoughts about ever making such statements in public again. And I do it with a cute smile, and simple, unassuming questions.

    As for Michael Steele... I've never been able to figure him out exactly. At first, it seems like he was a statusQuo rinoe get along with the Left type. And the palace intrigue - the Republicans have never had their sh*t together, and I never had any faith in the party apparatus... so I'm not going to get on his case over the infighting; mostly because I don't care about Republicans.

    What I don't understand completely, I must admit, is Rand's aversion to politics. She did seem to favor the psychological side of Objectivism over the political side; but then, she would occasionally go all out and write a 1200 page opus that revolves around the political side almost exclusively. I have trouble understanding if Rand was really as averse to politics as many of the post-Rand acolytes insist. I've always taken the reluctance in this area to be a result of the coffee klatch/teacher's lounge aspect of Objectivism. (There is, I am somewhat ashamed to say, an elitist thread through all of this that Objectivists are somehow smarter and above it all. The very concept that Politics is "getting one's hands dirty" reflects this.)

    But regardless of Rand's (or some of our) aversion to getting hands dirty... we have to shed those inhibitions. Now is the time for getting hands dirty. In fact, I'll wager that we are now in the 11th hour and the only openings left are for people not afraid to dirty their hands.

    I look at the Fabian Socialists in England. Completely discredited in my eyes... but they're still rocking arent' they? They almost destroyed this country in the 30s and had all their ideas totally discredited for any honest person to see... but they're still truckin, and exert an enormous amount of influence on CFAP and Obama. Meanwhile, Objectivists - with much better ideas - can't seem to figure out if they should even be part of the discussion. We should have multiple think tanks, churning out regular statements. CFAP controls both Hillary and Obama and most of the primary candidates - they covered all their bases, don't they? We should have direct influence on all the prospective Republican candidates.

    I know a lot of you agree with me... just from the few posts here, and the private ones I've received... but the next step in translating that into action of some kind.

    One of you was kind enough to call me an idealist - but you misunderstand. I'm just pissed off.

  22. Hey, I'm new here... and just wanted to say this is completely ridiculous. (Always a good start.)

    First of all, the question at hand - the purpose of the thread - has been completely ignored and seemingly lost in the mists of history. Yet, it is the most important question I've seen on the entire site to be honest. And the way it has been completely blown aside is pretty lame.

    Why don't you have anything to say on current events? Why do Objectivists seem to keep their discussions in low, murmurred tones in obscure forums along the less-traveled internet venues? OR, maybe in the backs of the tea-party events, carefully trying not to appear to be too impressed with the Ron Paul people or to be associated with the LaRouche folk. Objectivism is a morality proper to man, is it not? Descended from Aristotlean logic, correct? I think we can all agree that the more people that follow it, the less "managed" and freer a society we will have, right? That's supposed to be a good thing, right?

    So why don't we fight for it? Or at least tell people about it. Ayn spent several days debating publicly anyone at radio City Music Hall, did she not? Current Events are simply teachable moments.

    I think even Ayn would agree that a philosophy never practiced (or at least advocated for) is hardly worth considering as a serious contender. Look at how vigorously she defended and advocated hers.

    I, for one, am tired of it. I hear marxist propaganda everywhere I go... so now I answer them, when it happens. The worst thing about these Leftists, is that people like us shut up and stay quiet while they feel free to use their Argument From Intimidation to pretty much walk all over the conversation. And where does that get us? The marxist feels great, you feel like crap, and everyone else that doesn't know any better now knows less than they did before.

    So when someone says, "I think healthcare's a right"...

    you say, "health care is a service provided by skilled human beings; to call healthcare a right means that you desire the right to make slaves of your fellow man. You're a socialist; you always think men's lives are a means to your ends."

    When someone says, "don't you care about minorities?"

    You say, "the smallest minority of all is the individual - why don't you care about them?"

    When someone says, "I think that rich guy makes too much"

    You say, "you say you'll defend a nazi's right to march, even though you disagree, because you respect the freedom of speech more. But you'll never defend the right to make as much money as one wants, even if you don't like the guy, because you're not really about freedom, are you?"

    And when you hear the inevitable, "Atlas Shrugged? You're kidding, right? Total garbage, I couldn't even follow it."

    You say, "so you take as evidence of my idiocy the fact that I understood a book you couldn't even finish?"

    We should be commenting on current events all the time. We should take every opportunity to illustrate how objectivism works and what it means. Most of you, in my opinion, seem to consider Objectivism a "pleasant abstraction for distraction". I think we're failing the entire philosophy if we just sit in our armchairs and discuss the finer points. Ayn Rand's work - especially politically - is in desperate need right now. There is no better time to say something, then now. When will it be too late?