studiodekadent

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Everything posted by studiodekadent

  1. Brant, Going by the depressingly common orthodox reading of Islam (Salafism), I'm inclined to agree. But I wasn't denying that. Rather, I was saying that Christianity is potentially (and for most of its history has historically been) just as bad.
  2. I've heard it said that the kind of people who are interested in being cops are typically the kind of people you DO NOT WANT to become cops. Ergo, lots of bigoted and/or power-lusting people in the force. I've been profiled by cops too, on the basis of my appearance, but its only happened a few times. Thankfully. I am truly horrified, Derek, to hear of the suspicion you've had to deal with.
  3. Kyrel, I agree the response to the Charlie Hedbo killings was extremely bad and showed that far too many in the West lack the guts to stand up for enlightenment/liberal values (such as "free speech absolutism"). But don't you think that perhaps you're lacking nuance? Christianity is arguably just as bad as Islam, doctrinally speaking, and it has its own history of being used to rationalize monstrous forms of tyranny and oppression (even in the present day). Not only that but there are SOME historical examples of parts of the Islamic world being significantly more free than parts of the West, at least at the time. If Christianity can be neutered/civilized, then theoretically speaking so can Islam. If you used the phrase "Salafism" or "Fundamentalist Islam" I'd agree with you wholeheartedly. These are, unfortunately, very powerful and institutionally-entrenched forces within the present-day Islamic world and they do need to be opposed. But just using the broad brush "Islam" ignores the minority of reasonable Muslims (in the same way we can accept that some Christians can be generally reasonable people) within France. Are you suggesting we deport anyone that ticks "Muslim" on a census form? Fundies are disturbingly well-entrenched and powerful within many Islamic immigrant communities, particularly within Europe. The ideology of postmodern "multiculturalism" (which is very much NOT a form of cosmopolitanism, no matter how much its proponents lie otherwise) enables them to get away with being truly backward and even dangerous. My country recently had the Martin Place Siege so I know the threat posed by Islamic Fundies. But how can we address this problem WITHOUT violating the Rule of Law? How can we address it WITHOUT violating individual rights? How can we address it WITHOUT wasting lives and ammo on ultimately-unproductive bombing campaigns in the middle east (seriously, you can't bomb people into the Enlightenment!)? Because frankly, deporting every Muslim from France would be utterly unjust.
  4. Hoo boy, long time since I posted here... Anyway, my post is going to be a brief refutation of Keynesianism. Keynesianism's central feature is the use of government Fiscal Policy to stabilize the business cycle (if Monetary Policy is being used, then you're dealing with neo-Keynesianism. I think my refutation covers both but some may disagree). This isn't the be-all-and-end-all of Keynesianism but it is the centrepiece of the ideology as taught in Macro 101. Keynesianism is premised on the following assumption: in the long term, prices are perfectly flexible just like you'd expect. In the short term, however, prices are "sticky." This is the founding premise of Keynesianism. It has two critical flaws. First: Keynesianism does not define exactly how long the "long term" and "short term" are, in a quantitative sense. Rather, it defines the "short term" as "the period in which prices are sticky" and "long term" as "the period in which prices are flexible." These definitions contain zero empirical content! For how long will prices remain sticky? "In the short term!" And how long is that short term? "The period in which prices remain sticky." So, Keynesianism defines some nebulous period of "sticky prices" into existence but never stipulates how long that will last. You might as well define "quidjibo" as "a pink unicorn from the planet Rigel-7" but that doesn't prove quidjibos (or Rigel-7, for that matter) is a real thing. And the second critical flaw is that if there IS price stickiness, it does not exist within the capital/input goods market (and even prices of certain consumer goods change frequently too). Capital and commodities change their prices all the time, hence why we have stock market tickers and the like. Prices fluctuate and vary remarkably at the far-from-consumption stages of production and only get more stable as things get closer to sale (but even then, there are some consumer goods with very variable prices). Ergo, Keynesianism rests on an assumption about temporal price-stickiness. This price-stickiness is both 1) presumed to exist with no empirical statement about how long it exists for, and 2) conflicts with the empirical evidence that prices vary wildly not just in the long term but also in the short term. Therefore, the key assumption behind Keynesianism is false. Keynesianism should thus be discarded.
  5. This kind of discussion is neither new nor surprising. Its basically the kind of crap which should've been made eternally unacceptable during the Sokal Affair, but unfortunately has experienced a resurgence now thanks to tons of "Social Justice" blogs on places like Tumblr (seriously, complaints about "cultural appropriation" from them ring rather hollow, since they APPROPRIATED the phrase "Social Justice" from the Old Left and now use it as the rebranding for what would have formerly been called "Political Correctness" - SJ is the new PC). I think at one point in Galt's Speech, Rand said something about one's victimization becoming one's source of value in a world that adopted collectivism. The incentive is thus to be as oppressed and downtrodden as possible, to trade off one's wounds and one's victimhood. This practice is commonplace in "SJ" discussions, and when two people with different sets of victim-group identities conflict they will have huge spats (like the one MSK discusses here) over who has it worse. This practice is so prevalent that it even has a catchy nickname: "the Oppression Olympics." The influx of "SJ" onto social media is IMO the perfect reason to avoid social media accounts entirely. That said, in the context of this debate, Mr. Scott is clearly the more reasonable one.
  6. Good point. Many O'ists are too reflexive to defend a big business, because they subconsciously seem to assume they must have gotten wealthy by market means alone. This is obviously untrue and many libertarians have correctly taken them to task over the issue. From what I know, Walmart benefits quite substantially from Emminent Domain, which is an atrocious crime against property rights.
  7. To be entirely fair, in this economy almost EVERY business is touched in some way by corporatism. We don't necessarily know if any particular business CAN survive free of corporatism. Of course, this doesn't justify continuing subsidies and I absolutely support removing subsidization of Walmart. Just saying that Walmart's villainy (in this context) is shared by a huge number of American businesses, so instead of trying to make out firms to be evil we should accept that firms did not CHOOSE to come into existence in a corporatist economy. Blaming a firm for existing in a corporatist economy is akin to blaming a child for being born to wealthy parents (assuming the firm did not create the corporatism in the first place).
  8. Good question. What I would say is that a free (at least in principle) nation is PERMITTED to go to war against a non-free nation. Not that it necessarily has the OBLIGATION to do so, but that it is PERMITTED to do so. I would also like to apologize for the slowness of my reply. Also, for all of my rejection of the antebellum South, the Southern US contains many cultural treasures (do not get me started over the food because my descriptions of the lusciousness will quickly transgress this websites parameters for civilized dialogue). Southern culture has a lot to like! Hell, I'm a f**king Goth... Southern Culture gave us Anne Rice, who (when she wasn't religionist) gave us some great literature (although frankly she's kind of cuckoo in general). The overall point I am making is that the CSA's sovereignty was not valid. The North didn't have an OBLIGATION to go to war, but I wouldn't classify its war as an act of aggression against a valid state.
  9. To be fair, there are many free-market anarchists who are also heavily interested in Objectivism and agree with many of its tenets. Maybe a subforum is too extreme, but an Anarch-Objectivist topic thread would be perfectly reasonable, even to non-anarchists like myself. There's lots of good discussion and debate in the Anarch-Objectivist land and I think it would benefit the site to have a thread which welcomes it.
  10. I am not an expert on American history, but for what it is worth I think David's argument is critically relying on the proposition that the sovereignty of the Confederate States of America was valid and thus the United States were the aggressors. I disagree that the CSA's sovereignty was valid. Pretty much every single one of the individual states which made up the CSA explicitly stated in their documents explaining the reasons for their secession that one of their motivations was the preservation of slavery. In other words, the purpose of the CSA's formation was in part to sustain a systematic violation of human rights. Thus, the CSA was, unlike the USA, founded with the intention of violating rather than safeguarding rights. Which in turn means that its sovereignty was invalid. Of course the USA at the time was hardly consistent but at least the majority of the US lacked slavery. Slave states in the USA, as George H Smith pointed out, only numbered four. For all the faults of the USA (and various states within it) at the time, the CSA was significantly worse. The culture of the Southern elites (from what I know) was very much of that pre-Enlightenment familial/honor/collectivist mentality, and Rand wasn't exactly wrong when she described the old South as feudalist. Like I said, I'm not an expert on the subject, but for all the criticisms one can make about Lincoln or the effects of the Civil War, eliminating the scourge of slavery was a good thing and the CSA's claim to sovereignty, whatever one thinks about the ultimate nature of sovereignty, was clearly less legitimate under most classical liberal theories than the USA's claim. Also, heads' up: libertarians/classical liberals and Objectivists should do their best to avoid being associated with Southern Nationalism. To call it bad press is an understatement. Plus, to be honest, ANY kind of nationalism is philosophically dangerous.
  11. David C, I can understand your desire to agree to disagree on religion, but as an Objectivist you must agree that the evils of Christianity need to be exposed, proclaimed and talked about... That disgusting Servile Carpenter Religion deserves to be marinated in scorn and loathing given that it has literally centuries of good publicity which need to be reversed. It deserves to be hated, burned and loathed (DISCLAIMER: I was talking about the religion itself, NOT NECESSARILY ITS FOLLOWERS). With respect to Levine, I understand your position. My reason for adopting my position is his closure of Irrational (like Wynand closed the Banner) and his open acknowledgement of his becoming a slave to PR.. as someone who corresponded wih him before the 'change' I think he didn't change and was really repressed by the pressures of AAA-game-development media relations. You don't have to apologize for having a different position to mine. -Andrew
  12. Dallas, I think you've misinterpreted me somewhat. In my opinion, Levine as a person hasn't changed. What HAS changed is that now, he has to be a Slave To PR in order to make sure his game sells and doesn't get bad press. I don't think he has changed per se, I think he's just playing the Public Relations game. This is why I think he's like Gail Wynand now... has true principles and passions but is forced to be a spiritual prostitute to keep his overlords happy. He was very nice several years ago... he just got less-so as hundreds of millions of dollars started relying on him to not rock the boat. It isn't the fame 'getting to him.' As for "unnecessary shots" at religion, I disagree. I think the game was TOO easy on religion. It should've been MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more anti-religious. But NOOOO, that would've been bad for PR.
  13. I agree that Bioshock was a brilliant game, however I am discussing a downloadable expansion for one of the sequels to the first BioShock. This expansion simply happens to take place in the same world as the first BioShock game.
  14. The first Bioshock was a landmark video game which portrayed an Objectivist utopia torn apart by the hypocrisy of some and the power-lust of others. It did not strawman Objectivism but rather argued that in a world where humans are prone to hypocrisy and to the love of controlling others, idealism leads to tragedy. The sequel, Bioshock 2, showed the once-Objectivist city of Rapture after being taken over by a collectivist cult; the results were even worse than before. In a plot which stunningly mirrored Rand's critique of altruism, collectivism and mysticism, Bioshock 2 proved that Objectivism itself was not the target of critique, but totalistic ideology was being criticized. Bioshock Infinite took place in a different world, with the exception of two downloadable add-ons: the "Burial At Sea" stories took place in Rapture, the fallen Randian utopia. Bioshock 1 was mostly sympathetic to Objectivism. Bioshock 2, whilst less sympathetic to Objectivism, was even more critical of the altruist/collectivist/anti-rational side of the equation. After the release of Bioshock Infinite, Burial At Sea Episode 2, I am disappointed to report that Objectivism has been completely straw-manned. This game was designed by Ken Levine. I have personally corresponded with Levine, who is self-admittedly a moderate libertarian sympathetic to Rand but critical of her 'extremism'. Ken Levine designed my favorite video game of all time (specifically, System Shock 2). The first Bioshock proved that Levine did his homework... he knows what Objectivism is about. So how on earth can we explain Levine's sudden resorting to the kind of cliche misrepresentations of Objectivism that one expects out of Marxists? Burial At Sea, Episode 2 begins with a section where the player-character moves through the "Ryan The Lion Preparatory Academy" - a school where children are put in the 'corner of shame' for sharing their toys, where "there are no free lunches" is emblazoned on a statue in the mess hall (coincidentally, I am an Australian and school lunch does not exist in my country unless you pay for it... yet Australia is hardly a Randian utopia), where the Principal uses mind control powers to make kids obedient and compliant (!), and in which you can find videos where the founder of Rapture argues that charity is evil because it coddles the poor (a stance Rand did not hold) and that the first game's villain's behavior was a product of "altruism" (which in fact contradicts an important plot point of the first Bioshock: the villain's "charities" were in fact all about recruiting people to side with him in a revolution which would allow him to take over Rapture... ergo, 'altruism' was used as a weapon of power-lust). At no time is any positive representation of Objectivism given. Immediately after leaving the "Ryan The Lion Preparatory Academy," the player character enters an erotica store - Rapture existed during the 50's. Instead of the environment being used as an example of Rapture's relative sexual liberation (and thus embrace of socially liberal values) compared to the general world at the time, the environment is played for laughs... even though the store contains a piece of erotica which clearly counts as transgender erotica. Not only that, but recurring character Sander Cohen (a member of Rapture's elite) is implied to be gay on repeated occasions; at no time is Rapture's relatively accepting social climate given an explicit mention (after all, that would make Objectivism look less than evil!). The game even argues that the Objectivist theory of sex demands that sexual congress be contractually negotiated (as in physical paper contracts! (I am tempted to wonder if Adam was the source material for this particular misconception)). Anyone even remotely familiar with Objectivism can see the misrepresentations involved here. So why would Levine... a man who clearly knows what Objectivism is about... engage in such an obvious, hateful, blatant strawmanning? It is this question which my article plans on answering. So how does this have something to do with Gail Wynand? In The Fountainhead, Gail Wynand is a newspaper magnate who profits by telling the people what they wish to hear; he doesn't care about anything other than flattering establishment sensibilities so as to make money through selling newspapers. He doesn't stand up for what he believes in - his papers just reflect the established wisdom. He truly has values and principles, but he ignores them because he believes, erroneously, he makes public opinion when in fact he has only been mirroring it. Finally he realizes that his "power to shape opinion" (and thus power over the masses) is an illusion, and that he has spent his life as little more than a slave to popular opinion. My thesis is that Ken Levine is like Gail Wynand in that his own opinions and beliefs have been subordinated to the horrors of public relations. The first BioShock was made before he became the video game development equivalent of a rockstar; Burial At Sea was made after. Now, as he openly acknowledged in this interview (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-03-11-would-the-real-ken-levine-kindly-stand-up), gamers and the media react to his "body of work" and "public persona." This console generation has demonstrated a large reliance on "blockbuster" and "AAA" games, funded by corporate entities who are naturally risk-averse. An outspoken game developer who has an opinion that could place a dent is sales figures is thus a danger to shareholder returns. Levine, a developer of games which occupy this market space, is thus subject to such pressures. As such, Burial At Sea Episode 2 reflects the establishment opinion of Objectivism, rather than a reasonable interpretation thereof. But this is not the only factor which must be accounted for; another is the climate of public opinion on the internet, which has shifted towards the New-Leftist "politically correct" paradigm significantly in the last few years. "Political correctness," now renamed "social justice" (a cause formerly of the Old Left which used to refer to income redistribution but now refers to the kind of bilge which the Sokal Affair successfully mocked), happens to have many supporters on the internet (social media website Tumblr is full of it). Of course, hatred of Rand and libertarianism is general is part of the Social Justice Warrior catechism; Social Justice ideology is based on a radically anti-individualist set of sociological/meta-anthropological assumptions that are logically opposed to those which sit at the basis of libertarianism. Whereas libertarianism sees individual agency as the primary fact of human actions, Social Justice ideology sees us all as social constructs with no free will, shaped by an oppressive matrix of power relations called the "kyriarchy," where various class struggles between oppressor classes and oppressed classes play out on a whole range of politically-useful dimensions (i.e. sex, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc). This is a far stronger claim than simply acknowledging that bigotry exists in many places within the western world (of course it does) - this is the kind of claim which ultimately argues no person of European ancestry is allowed to criticize fundamentalist Islam because its apparently racist and colonialist to do so. This influx of Social Justice Warriors into video game culture is relatively recent. And Bioshock Infinite (the game to which Burial At Sea functions as an expansion pack) was accused by several Social Justice Warriors of being racist. The game's plot centers around a society which is in fact racist (because the society is built on the kind of American jingoism which existed during the "Manifest Destiny" era) but the claim made against the game was that the game was itself racist. They basically ran a smear campaign against the game. And did I mention that smear campaigns, cyberstalking and similar tactics (including "doxxing," which is the exposure of anonymous internet users' real-life identities (and which sometimes leads to harassment like phone calls and getting people fired from their real-world jobs)) are commonly used by Social Justice Warriors? But it isn't merely the left that have been offended by Bioshock Infinite; people sharing conservative beliefs have as well (unsurprising for a game which depicts a racist, religionist, nationalist society in negative terms). As Ken Levine said, one of the artists for the game was so offended by the game's use of baptism as a plot point (because it depicts an important character in the game as becoming evil after being baptized) that he nearly resigned (see: http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/22051/bioshock-infinites-ending-may-cause-controversy). Levine ended up altering the game to not offend the artist's sensibilities (and, by proxy, the sensibilities of religionist conservatives). Now, Christianity is a religion based on avoiding one's moral comeuppance by using that Nazarene carpenter as a scapegoat; Levine was hardly being unfair in suggesting the mere possibility that someone may feel that because they're "saved" then they can be a complete prick (I'm sure our esteemed George H. Smith can honor us with extensive tales of precisely this kind of thing happening). But, no, we can't offend the Christians can we? It might be bad for sales figures! So, the Social Justice Warriors cannot be offended too much because then they'd cause a lot of bad publicity and damage sales. Nor can the Christians be offended, although perhaps bad publicity from them would cause others to buy the game more as a way to stick it to the Servile Carpenter Religion. But which demographic can be offended? Who's sensibilities barely impact the balance sheet? Objectivists. And bashing Objectivism would help soothe the ruffled feathers of SJWs who's "feels" were hurt by Bioshock Infinite! In a recent interview, Levine mentioned Ayn Rand's taking of welfare and accused of being an act of hypocrisy (which it wasn't, because Rand said people who've paid into government systems (which she certainly did) have the right to get something out of them in return) on par with the hypocrisy of Rapture's leader (who nationalized the competition and instituted a police state... significantly more extreme actions to say the least). Of course, Levine's PR overlords wouldn't have allowed him to make a similar allegation about anything Jesus or Mother Theresa did, or anything Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama did. As such, I come to the conclusion that the public relations pressures of AAA game development in today's economy are responsible for Levine kowtowing to relatively popular belief systems and thus producing a mischaracterization of Objectivism so cartoonishly extreme and hilariously false that there is no way the man behind the first Bioshock game could possibly believe them. Levine is pandering to the stereotype which the left (and to a lesser extent the religious right) have used to poison the well against Objectivism. He's trying to avoid controversy. After all, he is trying to sell a blockbuster game that cost tens (or possibly hundreds) of millions to produce. Like Gail Wynand, Levine has modified the products of his passion to pander to popular prejudices. Like Wynand, Levine has debased his integrity in the name of sales figures. Levine sold out. I still believe the first Bioshock game is a classic and all Objectivists should play it. But it saddens me that the finale for Infinite relies on the kind of infantile stereotyping one expects from a college-freshman Progressive. Levine recently stated he was moving away from the AAA space and is forming a smaller team. In addition, this generation of gaming is likely to have lower development costs and significantly easier ways to profit than the previous generation did. Hopefully this means Ken will be able to tear the leash off his neck and stop being a slave to PR. At least I hope so.
  15. I'm actually writing a speech focusing on some potential commercial implications of Postrel's work. Postrel, really... her description of glamour sounds straight out of Randian aesthetics. "Romantic Realism" as Rand described it IS Postrel's idea of Glamour... "life not as it is, not with its flaws, but life as it COULD and SHOULD be like."
  16. MSK, Oh, I've been reading GHS's stuff for Cato regularly. It is indeed extremely good quality work and the Objectivist world needs more people like George. And yes... I've seen the catharsis you speak of.
  17. Thanks for the substantiative comment! Awesome! (Oh intelligent discussion, how much I love thee). Maybe its just me, but "elitism" as I have always understood it meant RULE by the "elite" (however defined). The mere PRESENCE of elites isn't the issue... the issue is about elites being given power over "the rest." As a supporter of individual rights, I don't believe the "best and brightest" should design/engineer/control society (that's the progressive paradigm). Of course there are "the educated" and "the uneducated"... I'm technically part of the former even though most of them would loathe my beliefs. But I don't believe because of my degrees I should govern my "lessers." With regards to "all men are created equal" and the founding fathers, they were mostly empiricists so they'd probably see no contradiction... all men are created equal, over time some acquire more knowledge than others.
  18. I see that exactly the opposite. Elitism can only exist with a general population of degenerates who are incapable of properly ordering their own lives. Contempt for the indecent is both earned and deserved. Greg So you believe the anti-authoritarian, skeptical-of-the-state components of American liberalism are the BAD parts, and that the "I'm going to use the government to make you a better person" parts are the GOOD parts? Frankly I disagree. There is no evidence at all that the moral character of human beings (in general) has gone down over time (the whole "what's the matter with kids these days?" thing started under Plato and has been consistently disproven by every successive generation.. in spite of the old religionist stasist neophobes claiming that Batman made kids gay and video games cause school shootings, civilization has not collapsed). The idea that the "general population" are degenerates is heinously prejudiced, and the idea that the general population are "incapable" of "properly ordering their own lives" is the enemy of the classical liberal, enlightenment individualist tradition. Contempt for the contemptible is indeed deserved, but the majority of human beings do not deserve contempt. They may be mistaken on some issues, but they are not necessarily degenerates. Throughout human history, elitism has ALWAYS been the enemy of freedom. Freedom (in the classical liberal sense, i.e. the libertarian sense) has always been the right to control your OWN life and live it on your OWN terms. It has always referred to a universal self-sovereignty. Elitism opposes this on both levels by being a particularist violation of self-sovereignty. Even Ayn Rand was not, in fact, an 'elitist'. She wrote heroic novels but in her nonfiction works she displayed a great deal of confidence in the common man. She believed the common man was good, simply not philosophically informed. It should be noted that in both Fountainhead and Atlas, Rand's villains were members of the social elite. And she insisted on universal self-sovereignty. Compare this to the Progressives who believe "enlightened intellectuals" should control society. Compare this to the Frankfurt Schoolers who believe pop music and TV shows and advertising indoctrinate people with false consciousness. Compare this to Feudalism's aristocracies. Which tradition begins with "all men are created equal" and then says that as a result they have an equal right to their own lives on their own terms (the absolute liberty of all restrained by the like liberty of each), and which tradition begins by annointing "superior people" (whether that annointment is performed by a God or a specific university department is irrelevant) to control the lives of the Fucking NASCAR Retards? Elitism is not our friend.
  19. Okay, so ex-lovers are now coming here to spread the gossip? Isn't OL meant to be a refuge away from the childish movement infighting and backstabbing and gossip and bitching? As for Ridpath's quote, yeah, he's preaching to the choir, but there's a lot of fun in doing so. Maybe its because I was big into New Atheism but there's a role for taking a nice bath in our smug self-satisfaction and being condescending to the religionists. Of course civility has its place... but so does some "ideological circle-jerking" (I believe that's the term for everyone being smug and patting each other on the back and marinating in our shared rightness and betterness). I mean, that's what church basically is for religionists... confirmation bias reinforced through collective mutual affirmation. Note: Nothing against Fotocat... I just O'ist movement infighting frustrating and childish.
  20. A recent favorite from my favorite band of all time, Front Line Assembly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTjcZbNm_F0 Guaranteed to obliterate any dancefloor it touches. Also, does anyone here remember Gary Numan? Of "Cars" fame? Well for the last twenty years he's been making goth/darkwave/industrial metal and he's been doing it FANTASTICALLY. You can find a great song from his most recent album here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU1NSsFDnYs
  21. That's because you're ignoring the fundamental assumption behind paternalistic policies: "The rubes are unwashed, uneducated Fucking NASCAR Retards who need to be governed by people who know better." There are both conservative and progressive versions of this (I use "progressive" because genuine "liberals" (even in the sense of "social liberals", ala Glenn Greenwald) do not share this assumption). In essence, you're missing the fact that paternalism is based on elitism. We can't all be fathers because some of us are stupid kids. Elitism is really what hollowed out the good parts of the American left... it killed their antiauthoritarian/countercultural streak. As a result, today's left bears zero resemblance to the socially tolerant, "sex, drugs, rock and roll, pro-choice, anti-war" beliefs of the 60's/70's American counterculture. As for who we can blame... the US Progressive tradition has always embraced technocracy and elitism. We can also blame the Frankfurt School and Marxist "false consciousness" argumentation, which characterized the masses as dumb and easily-manipulated by mass media/advertising/etc. and thus had to be 'rescued' by their 'betters.'
  22. This entire controversy is really about politeness rather than "rights." A&E was within their rights to fire Robertson for his remarks. Robertson's right to free speech doesn't imply a right to freedom from other people's reactions to his speech (whether they be critique, shunning or boycotts). The right of Free Speech means that no individual or institution may use physical force, fraud or threats thereof against any specific person merely on the basis of what that person says (assuming of course that person's speech is not fraudulent or threatening). All parties involved are within their rights to free speech. However, there is an issue about what we might describe as "free speech values"... a climate of open discussion and debate. I think Robertson's statements were wrong and I can see why some would find them offensive. But is shouting him down actually going to help win hearts and minds or does it simply make the gay community look bad? Quite frankly, I think that violating free speech values is counterproductive for a minority group that is seeking acceptance. I support the cause of gay rights. I think Robertson's firing, ironically enough, will set back this cause by creating a new martyr-figure for homophobes to rally around and casting gays in an unflattering light. A&E fired Robertson. Gay groups should point this out: 'they fired him, we didn't.' And with respect to messaging strategy, I'd think instead of calling Robertson "hateful and bigoted" (he may be, but moralistic scolding letters just preach to the choir) they should simply point out that old people often have old fashioned ideas, but more and more people every day are realizing that sexual orientation is morally neutral and that everyone should be judged by the content of their character rather than the anatomy of their bedmates.
  23. Stephen, You'd probably be horrified if you saw me speak in person, but hey, maybe you'd find me entertaining! I appreciate the feedback and the work of yours I have read (admittedly not nearly enough) has always been challenging and insightful. In my defense the bourbon and vodka was always very separate! I agree entirely. I'm just having an unpleasant day which has made me miserable about my likeability. Believe me that I wouldn't change to make myself more likeable. That would be moral treason! I know. Thank you for the encouragement. But having a pulse lessens by Goth Cred! (note that I'm being sarcastic for humor purposes) Thank you Michael. I appreciate the encouragement greatly. Well, the issue arose in the context of a pleasant acquaintance with someone that I believed liked me and whom I know likes some of the stuff I produce. So it is a matter of sustaining values since said pleasant acquaintance has resulted in many positive exchanges. Well clearly we should talk more! Thank you for the advice. Its appreciated. You make a very good point. Online friendships obscure so much... vocal tone, body language etc. The sentiment is most mutual. I'd gladly talk to you any time! Oh man... you know the stereotype that Objectivists don't care about cheering people up and have no feelings? This threat disproves it so wonderfully. Please excuse me while I indulge in all the warm and fuzzy feelings...
  24. Not exactly, but yes, I'm reacting to a conversation I had a few hours ago Thank you Ellen! I've seen your posts over years here and you've always come across as likeable and intelligent to me as well.
  25. Caveats: 1: I've had a few drinks (bourbon and vodka, for the record). 2: I'm not feeling particularly happy. 3: Sometimes every single human being has a bad day. With all of these in mind, please answer the following question honestly: Am I really unlikeable? I know I'm eccentric. I'm weird. I have many non-Objectivist friends, although I find that in general they often have Objectivist-friendly values. Still, sometimes I feel alienated and get a bit miserable. And everyone has bad days from time to time. So please keep in mind I might just be dealing with temporary emotional vulnerability. But really... am I really difficult to like? Is my style of relating to people so.. difficult and unpleasant? Are my attempts to understand people's personal contexts and experiences guilt-inducing? Maybe I just don't get people or I don't have feelings or whatever but... well... is talking with me the equivalent of rubbing one's face with sandpaper? All answers appreciated. The more honest the better.