Francisco Ferrer

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Everything posted by Francisco Ferrer

  1. Yes, by moving into a secret location in the hinterlands Rand set a practical example for all her disciples to follow. They did... in Galt's Gulch. Good to know that all it takes nowadays for anyone to escape, I mean rise above the IRS, the Fed, the FDA, the FEC, the FCC, and the NSA is to move to a little valley and install an invisibility screen over it.
  2. From the Money Speech: "You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood – money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities." This crumbling civilization and jungle creeping into the cities that Francisco mentioned--what's the problem? All one had to do was rise above it by being an American Capitalist producer! In fact, why were all the heroes in the book sneaking off to Atlantis? All they had to do was produce more dollars than the looters consumed. Problem solved. Atlas Shrugged could have ended 700 pages sooner.
  3. In an individual, personal way, one could live as a cat burglar in Galt's Gulch and then brag about how parasitism is alive and well. When government takes one-fourth of the nation's GDP and controls all of the economy's pressure points, it is self-delusion to think of that country as a free market in any meaningful sense of the term. Of course there are shadows where one can operate without Big Brother's scrutiny. There were black markets in the Soviet Union, too. Furthermore, as government grows, the less the economy grows. And, of course, more government, less individual freedom. I have never disparaged individuals who heroically escape the clutches of red tape and interference. But operating in the shadows necessitates risks and opportunity costs. Nothing stops a person from selling millions of boxes of cereal without nutrition labels--except the federal government. Nothing stops a person from hiring thousands of teenagers for under $7/hr.--except the federal government. One of the points most clearly made by the conclusion of Atlas Shrugged is that it's not just a village full of entrepreneurs who are worth saving; it's an entire nation whose name used to be synonymous with freedom that also matters. If the Moralist has completely escaped the IRS, the Fed, the FDA, the FEC, the FCC, the NSA, and the rest of the alphabet nomenklatura commanded by Obama, bravo! But why all the whining and insulting directed towards those want to shrink Washington at least down to pre-New Deal size?
  4. That's not an answer, Frank. It's evasion. Again... Why are Americans securing their economic freedom just the way things are right now... while you can't? Greg Since you have recently described the "separation of the state and the economy" as "utter bullshit," one may reasonably doubt that your definition of "economic freedom" is same as Ayn Rand's or any other prominent defender of laissez-faire capitalism. You've misrepresented what Greg was referring to. You did that by chopping off what you quoted. I know you've got brains. That leaves dogmatist or sophist, assuming you simply just didn't take your time to understand what he actually said. --Brant Let's see: What utter bullshit. If securing economic freedom does not mean a separation of the state and the economy, then perhaps we can have taxes, regulations, wage controls, subsidies, currency manipulation and also not have taxes, regulations, wage controls, subsidies, currency manipulation. We'll eat the cake and we'll also still have it. If you get arrested for drilling for oil where drilling is forbidden, you just pass on the cost of jail time to your customers. Since the Moralist apparently has not separated himself from the U.S. economy, his economy is both mixed and unmixed, laissez-faire and non-laissez-faire. But why shouldn't that make perfect sense in the point of view of a person who makes accusations about me being a robber without offering a shred of evidence? I'll stand by what I said previously: one may reasonably doubt that his definition of "economic freedom" is the same as Ayn Rand's or any other prominent defender of laissez-faire capitalism.
  5. I answered you in Post #151: I am delighted to hear that you live in that portion of the United States where there are no federal taxes; no federal restrictions on oil drilling, mining, farming, or forestry; no EPA restrictions; no federal minimum wage; no federal welfare program; no Federal Reserve-controlled currency or interest rates; no Anti-Trust Division; no federally managed educational institutions; and no federal gun restrictions. The fact that you've been so successful in Morrie's Gulch proves that the plan can be repeated elsewhere.
  6. That's not an answer, Frank. It's evasion. Again... Why are Americans securing their economic freedom just the way things are right now... while you can't? Greg Since you have recently described the "separation of the state and the economy" as "utter bullshit," one may reasonably doubt that your definition of "economic freedom" is same as Ayn Rand's or any other prominent defender of laissez-faire capitalism.
  7. Thank you for your comments. Henry George was a hugely popular 19th century political economist. He followed Locke's theorem that people own themselves and what they create through their labor. George insisted, however, that men do not create land and that therefore land belongs equally to all members of a community. George advocated a land tax (and no other taxes) to rectify the inequality of land ownership. This tax was called the Single Tax. George was also critical of intellectual property, militarism, and the role money played in elections. George introduced millions to the study of economics and influenced key intellectuals on both the left and the right, including libertarians Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov and Friedrich Hayek. Georgism vanished as a political movement by the middle of the 20th century. However, in 1972 while attending a libertarian conference in New York City, I met several people associated with the Henry George School of Social Science who were very laissez-faire except for their advocacy of a Single Tax. I don't remember much about the particulars of our conversation other than the fact that they were all a generation older than I and seemed not at all bothered that I disagreed with them.
  8. What utter bullshit. Face it, Frank... you're irreversably stupid... and you'll take it and all of its consequences with you to your grave as you deserve. Only losers like you blame (unjustly accuse) the government for your own lack of economic freedom. While Americans are securing their own economic freedom with the nation just the way it is right now. So how come Americans can do that... while you can't? Greg Securing economic freedom through a separation of the state and the economy is both a moral and practical political goal. It may not happen in my lifetime, but the closer we get to it, the better people will be, economically and ethically. Ayn Rand believed in that goal--and she was not stupid. Ayn Rand blamed the government for a lack of economic freedom in America--and she was hardly a loser.
  9. At William's request: My interest in political philosophy began when I read George Orwell's 1984 during the early 1960's. That was my wake up call to the dangers of unlimited government. In 1964 during the Johnson-Goldwater contest, my friends were for Goldwater and my family was for Johnson. In order to make up my own mind, I did hundreds of hours of reading to decide what should be the proper limits of government. By luck, the local library had copies of The Freeman going all the way back to the Albert J. Nock and Frank Chodorov versions of the magazine. There's a very good chance I read every issue in its entirety from from 1920's to the mid-1960's. In particular I admired selections by Ludwig von Mises and began the process of reading everything by him in print. I became an advocate of extreme laissez-fairism, and by 1969 or 1970 a free market anarchist. I've lived in several states, and I've always sought out pro-capitalist, limited government, and anti-government groups. I've had long conversations with Birchers, Georgists, Objectivists, Catholic anarchists, militia survivalists, anti-abortionists, anti-immigrationists, and anti-Illuminatii conspiracy theorists. For two years in the early 1970's I was a member of the Libertarian Party. I've also joined anti-draft, anti-tax, gold freedom, gun freedom, and drug freedom organizations. Like Ayn Rand I believe the best hope for America is to overhaul society's basic beliefs about individual freedom, capitalism and the role of government. Towards that end, I contribute a portion of my income to putting pro-freedom books in public and university libraries. For that is how I began my half century journey down this road.
  10. The answer to this question will depend on whether you're a seeker or a sucker, Frank. Not all agony is as meaningless and nihilistic as you imply in your question... ...especially when it's your own self inflicted agony of just and deserved consequences from poor moral choices. Agony can cause a seeker to question how they are living and to refine their character so as to rise above it... ...while a sucker like you stubbornly clings to your victim's blame (unjust accusation) of the government for your own failure to live like an American. Greg If agony is meaningful, then life consists of more than just suffering and thus life may be preferable to death. I always make it a point not to inflict agony on myself, unless of course it is deserved. The last time that happened was in 1968 when I voted for Richard Nixon. As for my "victim's blame," there is none to cling to. That is because I have no victims, or even unjust accusations against me (except for perhaps yours). Live like an American? I do so by following the example of the great anti-tax rebels of the American Revolution. This is free will? You deserved agony because you voted for Nixon? You evaluated the situation subsequently then opened the valve and let the agony flow over you? I always thought the people who had this power were masochists, but only once?--that can't be you. Now, how about agony from the outside? I think that power of yours still obtains since nothing seems to get to you. Agony at the gates? There it stays. The gates stay closed. I'm really talking about the agony of dealing with new and coinflicting ideas. Only you know the rest of it--the purely personal stuff. As for myself and Nixon--I probably voted for him but that's only deduction. I long ago forgot the actual horror. --Brant A human responds to internal and external conditions. Nothing exists outside cause and effect. It was agony for me when two of my classmates died in Vietnam, a full two years after Nixon took office with the promise to end the war. No, nobody deserves any form of government, but if I bear any responsibility for the growth of the welfare-warfare state it would have to be for helping to put Nixon in office.
  11. ...only in your academic fantasies, Frank. Impotently pouting about taxes like a petulant victim reveals the truth that you haven't learned how to secure your own economic freedom the American Revolution secured for you. It you truly followed their example... you'd be free. You're a sucker... and you deserve to remain one because you did it to yourself.. Greg If tax protests were impotent, then no voters would have been able to pass propositions or elect officials to reduce assessed value of real estate when it suffers a decline in market value. The fact that such initiatives have been successful establishes that good ideas can have positive benefits in the world. Securing economic freedom means a separation of the state and the economy. Or, as Ayn Rand puts it: "When I say 'capitalism,' I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. I am delighted to hear that you live in that portion of the United States where there are no federal taxes; no federal restrictions on oil drilling, mining, farming, or forestry; no EPA restrictions; no federal minimum wage; no federal welfare program; no Federal Reserve-controlled currency or interest rates; no Anti-Trust Division; no federally managed educational institutions; and no federal gun restrictions. The fact that you've been so successful in Morrie's Gulch proves that the plan can be repeated elsewhere.
  12. The answer to this question will depend on whether you're a seeker or a sucker, Frank. Not all agony is as meaningless and nihilistic as you imply in your question... ...especially when it's your own self inflicted agony of just and deserved consequences from poor moral choices. Agony can cause a seeker to question how they are living and to refine their character so as to rise above it... ...while a sucker like you stubbornly clings to your victim's blame (unjust accusation) of the government for your own failure to live like an American. Greg If agony is meaningful, then life consists of more than just suffering and thus life may be preferable to death. I always make it a point not to inflict agony on myself, unless of course it is deserved. The last time that happened was in 1968 when I voted for Richard Nixon. As for my "victim's blame," there is none to cling to. That is because I have no victims, or even unjust accusations against me (except for perhaps yours). Live like an American? I do so by following the example of the great anti-tax rebels of the American Revolution.
  13. FF, Start wrong, you end wrong. You established for yourself -alone- that there is no contradiction between rational selfishness and "service" to others. But there is. The distinction is I think, there's no contradiction between selfishness and empathy. How one reacts to one's compassion for a person or people draws us into an area which might seem subjective, or as I prefer, "of personal value". It depends: Are they the kind of people who need a temporary leg-up before finding their independence again - or will they develop an ongoing dependence on you? Did they come by misfortune by their own doing - or by the wrong and corrupt acts of their parents, government, natural disaster, etc. etc. At which stage will acting on his empathy become self-sacrificial to this benefactor? Can one afford the time, and financially? Is it a cause one is interested in and consumed by? Indulging in a a little fancy, if I were retired and had a billion or so to spare, I imagine purchasing a chunk of land on the North Africa coast and setting up a refugee haven, drawing in a polyglot of people from all the camps in the Middle East, to eventually develop into a City-State, governed secularly and defended by a professional army, planned to become a self-sufficient entity. I believe there are today the highest number of refugees in the world than ever recorded, due to the region's upheavals. These are mostly fleeing innocents who lost everything, at the mercy of States, terrorist groups and tribal wars. So long as I was enthused by this, I don't believe this would be "devoting" myself to others in the least, it would be a selfish venture. Down to earth again. Very few individuals are in the position to fix any more than a tiny part of the world's ills. They shouldn't be counted upon to. Certainly one does not deserve to live with guilt at "devoting" oneself to one's own interests irrespective of all else. Force come in many forms, and the psychological force upon us all to serve others 'compassionately' and indiscriminately, without objectively perceived value, is more insidious today than ever. And the funny part is, you'd be called "selfish" - disparagingly - for choosing your own benefactees. You may call it service to others or fighting extreme poverty or giving people a second chance. Whatever label you wish stick on it, acts of charity very often result in happiness for the giver. And to repeat such acts of charity in order to get more of that happiness may be properly described as selfish. To quote from Post #1: it is "a very selfish decision that brought him great happiness." How do we know? Watch the video. The charity worker gives off happy vibes.
  14. I can't let this go, either. We are talking about John Galt here. There is no self after death. Not in Rand's conception. A choice and act to not have a self is not selfish. Nor unselfish. It is anti-self. And even that statement is not taking into account Rand's meaning of selfish as life-affirming through values. Michael We agree that there is no self after death. I explicitly said so: "It is not the self after death that is acting to bring about an end to a life; it is the pre-death self." Why should the self exist in agony? If one prefers nothingness over agony, that is a selfish preference, made by the person who is about to actualize nothingness. It is a choice that reflects the evaluation that life is no longer worth living. It is a choice intended to benefit one person above all others, oneself. If one truly wanted to be anti-self, the choice would be to allow the self to remain in a torturous existence.
  15. Earlier in the thread I asked, "How would an objective observer know the difference between a man selfishly devoting himself to others and a man selflessly devoting himself to others?" The only response I received was, "Watching whether he is displaying boredom and agony as opposed to happy vibes?" (followed by a happy vibes emoticon). If this is true it means that the face reveals not only one's mood but one's evaluation of the self as well. In theory, happy vibes will be found on the faces of selfish people. Boredom and agony are the looks displayed by unselfish people. By this measure the most selfish people I've ever encountered were in Protestant denominations that allow singing and most especially in church youth groups. Who would have thought worshiping God could make people so selfish?
  16. I really don't want to prolong this, but what on earth are you talking about? Nobody said Galt was acting against his values. You really like the strawman argument, don't you? Good. Then we can agree that Galt's actions serve as an example of human behavior directed toward the goal of increasing one's contentment, gratification, pride or comfort.. At root, that's neither selfish or unselfish in Rand's meaning. That's being a victim in an unlivable world and checking out. Galt did not care to exist without values. Galt acted to avoid a world in which there were no values for him. Therefore, Galt's intention to kill himself in the event of Dagny's torture was pro-value. It wouldn't be an act of self-sacrifice. It would be the opposite. Then we agree that it is not the self after death that is acting to bring about an end to a life; it is the pre-death self. The pre-death self may find life under particular conditions unsatisfactory and act to shorten it. Life in certain contexts is not to everyone's liking and the decision to terminate one's life is individual, personal and selfish. Now you're lying to yourself since (for some damn reason) I believe you're sincere, but I just did that in the previous post. So the only logical explanation is you are suffering from self-deception. No, you did not show that I have expressed words that in any way resemble the position that "that humans can commit the same act for different reasons at different times." Just as people may eat for different reasons (to avoid starvation, to be polite, to take one's mind off a problem), people may commit suicide for a variety of reasons: to avoid physical pain, to escape mental anguish, to prevent someone else from being tortured. It looks like I'm getting better. Michael In the interest of boosting the moderator's self-esteem, allow me to say you are getting better every day.
  17. I have never said that people cannot. So I do not know whom the comment is directed towards. Now you're lying. Why? FF says so. Why? FF says so. Michael All you have to do is quote me or someone in "FF-Land," as you put it, who denies that "that humans can commit the same act for different reasons at different time." You have not done this. Yes, it is entirely possible that John Galt was acting against his values by threatening to kill himself. Perhaps his highest value was to keep himself alive at any cost. But I see no indication from the author that Galt's threat was empty, or that he wasn't willing to give up his life to avoid a world in which Dagny was tortured. Under the circumstances his going through with the threat would have been selfish. His self-destruction would equal selfishness. In the absence of contrary evidence, there is no reason to assume that people do not want the objects their actions are directed towards. Where is the evidence that people go to restaurants, theme parks, or parties in order to be near the things that they would prefer to avoid? Rand writes, "Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action. The goal of that action, the ultimate value which, to be kept, must be gained through its every moment, is the organism’s life." If people spend years acquiring food, clothing and shelter in the pursuit of destroying their happiness or bringing their lives to a quick end, it would probably occur to them sooner than later that their efforts are grossly inefficient.
  18. Your words, Post #88: I have never said that people cannot. So I do not know whom the comment is directed towards.
  19. Nah... This post is a perfect example of being word-based and not concept-based. The whole approach is gotcha on words without a minimum attempt to understand what is going on. (Above, I called trying to understand using one's eyes.) By committing suicide, Galt would merely be completing the destruction of himself imposed by others. He was already destroyed in his projected future. He would not be seeking self-destruction in order to serve anyone. He would be refusing to serve others. Michael "Galt would merely be completing the destruction of himself imposed by others," you say. The alternative would be not to complete what others imposed. Yet Galt's happiness depended on completing his destruction rather than impeding the destruction. His happiness, his self-fulfillment depended on self-destruction. Thus clearly in this example, "Self destruction equals selfishness." Of course, other people commit suicide for reasons other than to complete the destruction of oneself imposed by others. Some people, for example, find life physically or mentally painful. Robin Williams is one such example. If I were Robin Williams would I have ended my life? I cannot imagine doing so. But then I've never lived in Robin Williams's skin. You built an excellent argument against those who deny that humans can commit the same act for different reasons at different times. Now all you have to do is find someone who has expressed such a denial. When Galt said that he would kill himself before allowing Dagny to be tortured, how is that not an act on behalf of what is best for another? As we saw in the video at the top of this thread, acting on behalf of another may be one and the same as self-fulfillment. Even if a person does view himself as worthless, it hardly follows that his suicide is selfless. The pain of not having attained a goal may be too overwhelming to continue with life. The vice-principal of a South Korean high school who accompanied hundreds of pupils on a ferry that capsized has committed suicide, police said on Friday, as hopes faded of finding any of the 274 missing alive. I do not say that feeling worthless is selfish. Specifically, my argument is that people act selfishly to move themselves from a less satisfactory state to a more satisfactory state.
  20. What would we call suicide if not self-destruction? And didn't Galt threaten to kill himself in order to spare Dagny being tortured? (p. 1091) But if we must rule out the possibility of selfishness in taking one's own life, then we would have to declare that the hero of Atlas Shrugged was having a momentary lapse of unselfishness. Then again perhaps Galt's threat was just "word-based" and not reality-based.
  21. I didn't mention that Teresa's words came over as having not the least love for the poor and diseased, rather, disgust. That's the effects of servitude and self-sacrifice for you. Of course you might argue she was getting something out of it (um, "selfishly"). Perhaps beneath her humble exterior, she rather enjoyed the adulation she received from people all over, feteing her for her sacrificial humility, as the pinnacle in morality. And it's a good bet she believed this was what God wanted her to do. So there's a 'good' and 'selfish' reason right there. All that is why it's called *rational* selfishness, FF. Not by second hand esteem by millions of others, or supernatural- based. By Kant's and other moralists' lights, receiving any benefit or pleasure from an altruist action can't be completely moral. If, following Kant, she acted in a way strictly to avoid any personal benefit, then she acted to satisfy the part of her self that required such moral purity. In that respect she was serving herself.
  22. Why? Dogma. Because FF says so. That's the alpha and omega of the argument. It's entirely possible for a person to act consistently with a miserable result without choosing any preference at all. People can be observed doing it all the time. But only if FF says so and he ain't sayin'. So in FF-Land they ain't doin'. And it's entirely possible for a person to prefer self-destruction. But only if FF says so and he ain't sayin'. Instead, FF says acting on preference is selfish. That self-destruction is selfish. Why? FF says so, thus it must be so. Period. Maybe we should reconfigure reality and the Law of Identity according to FF's say-so. Instead of "A is A," we change it to "A is FF says." Michael In Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle wrote, “Every action and pursuit is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” That both individual humans and animals act to maintain or improve their condition can be confirmed through innumerable behavioral and demographic studies. To take the simplest example, the fact that people almost universally prefer to stay warm rather than freeze indicates that human behavior with respect to shelter is pro-survival. If Aristotle’s theory is in error, there should be some evidence to the contrary. Yes, a certain portion of the population commits suicide or engages in life-shortening behavior. But as Cicero observed, “When a man's circumstances contain a preponderance of things in accordance with nature, it is appropriate for him to remain alive; when he possesses or sees in prospect a majority of the contrary things, it is appropriate for him to depart from life.” Are there, for example, a significant number of people who purposely marry the person who makes them less happy or take the job that makes them less well off or watch the television programs they find less entertaining? To return to the example of Bill the accountant, in the absence of contrary evidence, we can say that Bill’s tending to work rather than not work is a manifestation of a preference, i.e., the “liking of one alternative to another.” Why place greater weight on Bill’s pro-work actions than his anti-work words? Because it is his actions not his words that have an actual effect on his life. To judge by Bill’s words, he is miserable. He has said so. He has specifically criticized the burden of his job. Yet he returns to it again and again. If his words are true, then his choice to work is a choice to be miserable—or to escape the greater misery of not working. The vital point is that it is self-chosen and thus a selfish choice. I refer to the part of the mind that makes such decisions as the “self” but other terms may be used as well. I have already acknowledged that people make choices which still leave them miserable. And I have explicitly said that self-destruction may be seen as a selfish choice (see the reference to Galt). Whatever the end result, when one action is selected over another, the actor demonstrates his desire that a certain condition be brought about or continued. The misery experienced in that condition may in the actor’s evaluation be less bad than any alternative. For Bill doing accounting may be less miserable than not doing it. Going back to Post #1, acting in a way that is superficially unselfish may be deeply satisfying to the actor.
  23. Tony, You just nailed my main beef with FF's dogma. He presumes this proves one, but not the other. In other words, we can't know what's inside a person's mind, so how do we know he is not acting selfishly? But by the same token, how do we know he is? It is a reasonable assumption that people act to increase their satisfaction. Ice cream is popular because it gives people pleasure. If it produced an opposite emotion people would stop consuming it. I do not ask you to accept my word on faith but to observe. People act to increase their happiness. People repeat actions that bring them pleasure and avoid actions that bring pain. If this were not true, then we would see just as many people consuming thorns and thistles as ice cream. Why is it best? Just because FF said so... That's the only reason he gives. (Oh... OK... Mises said it as a proclamation and I left that out of this quote. But that's just a second-hand proclamation. Why did Mises say that in the quote? Because he said so. The end. And FF imitated this.) We could consider the theory that all human action is completely random. But it does not take much observation to realize that because certain activities tend to be repeated (consuming food, sleeping, being with others) and certain other activities tend to be avoided (placing one's fingers in a flame), that actions which produce positive feelings are repeated and actions which cause displeasure and bodily damage are not. But, by this standard, there is no reason to suppose that a person is acting selfishly, either. To know for sure, one has to be inside the person's head. The only standard given is FF says so. If a child puts ice cream into her own mouth, it is more likely that she is acting to give herself pleasure than her sister. But, without reading her thoughts, it is clear that certain actions, by the fact that they are repeated, indicate positive results in the person performing them. Obvious to whom? Is FF in that person's head to know what that person's life purpose is? So why is it obvious "that they are acting to increase satisfaction/fulfillment of life's purpose"? FF says so. That's all. The repetition of certain activities establishes that human behavior is not random. For example, humans, for the most part, prefer to eat rather than starve. The fact that animals prefer to eat than not eat, be warm rather than cold, etc. may be largely the result of inherent evolutionary mechanisms in the nervous system to foster survival. The fact that some human ignore those mechanisms and engage in behavior that is self-destructive indicates that some feelings can overpower the survival mechanism. Other behaviors may be the result of a need for community. The repeated activity of going to a church (rather than an ice cream parlor) means that some part of the brain is being given a positive response by church-going. Otherwise, people would not repeat it. The act of satisfying that need is selfish. How does FF know this guy's preference? FF says so, apparently confusing lack of obstacle with active choice (blanking out unconscious habit or compulsion). And even if that were true, why is acting to realize a preference acting selfishly? Why can it not be unselfishly and the guy get no personal satisfaction at all, only misery? FF says so. If Biil gets only misery form doing Activity A yet nonetheless repeats Activity A, even though he is under no threat to perform it, then Bill must prefer the misery of A to the non-misery of non-A. By acting on his preferences Bill is demonstrating selfishness.
  24. If we cannot know a person' innermost thoughts, then our conclusions should be based on what we can objectively observe about him, specifically his actions. If we see someone in despair, we can offer him suggestions for a remedy, but if he persists in his present course of action, on what basis would we conclude that he has chosen wrongly? It is simply not true that what makes one person happy will result in the happiness of an entirely different human being. Should my friend Bill the accountant abandon a career of drudgery? Only he can answer that. You refer to his work as a "comfort blanket." What is the point of giving up the blanket if he finds life less satisfactory without it? You write, "You have to be extremely honest about which values are true and worth holding and pursuing - to you - then to nurture the virtues essential to gain them, and then act towards them." Very gwell, but how would we determine that a given individual has not chosen values that are true and worth holding and pursuing - to him? Didn't you start off by saying, "I wouldn't be able know his innermost thoughts"? Again, I ask, how exactly do you measure the depth of a person's selfishness and distinguish the bone deep variety from the skin deep? How can you know that what would not give you a reward (filling out IRS forms for clients) would not be rewarding to a different sort of person? What about irrational fears? Should people act or not act on the basis of such feelings? I have a lifelong aversion to heights. I do not like theme park rides, glass elevators or precipices. It is true that I am doing myself no physical harm by standing on the edge of a cliff. But if I am happier not doing it, why is that a less rational choice? If at a family reunion I nod my head or smile politely when someone makes a political comment that I reject, I am simply more motivated by the desire to avoid discord than the desire to make a convert. If Mother Teresa really and truly loathed walking through the streets of Calcutta then she would have commanded first her left foot and then her right foot to leave the city and find fulfillment elsewhere. As in the case of accountant Bill, words speak louder than actions. If Galt loved Dagny to the degree that it would not be a self-sacrifice to lose his life to save her, then why couldn't Mother Teresa love the poor of Calcutta to the degree that it would not be a self-sacrifice to lose her life to save them? See the video in Post #1.