Anya

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  1. The State does neither. I leverages bullies and poor decisions makers. It is dysgenic, corrupting and useless. I frankly think most minarchists just don't understand the system they're 'critiquing', and pretty much none of them never put effort into the vast technical literature that deals precisely these oft-repeated criticisms. Objectivist government is half-error, half-rationalism - Bizarro Positivism. Or, as FSK put it, minarchists are stupid.
  2. Szasz never denied that chemical manipulation could cause withdrawal syndromes and a high positive association. The point is that smoking crack, like riding a bike, is intentional behavior. It is not a 'disease', it is a problem of coping with stress generated by chemical habituation.
  3. Except that's it utterly failed, led immediately to thugs like Adams and leftoid spendthrift liberal war mongers like Jefferson, resulted in a brutal civil war half a century after the founding, publically financed Humanist indoctrination, two world wars and the expansion into a world empire based on a crude mix of egalitarianism and realpolitik. America blows, dude. The Constitution and the insane bureaucratic republican state it represents, much less the inane ideology of classical liberals, are in no way to be credited with what pitiful attempts at capitalism this country has made. America is an example of capitalism and good government like being almost dead is an example of health. There is more distance between laissez-faire and 19th century America than there is between 19th century America and the USSR. Aside from technical problems of incoherence in limited/liberal government theories, I think a major source of attachment to pseudo-divided republican superstates (which is what even the early Republic was - private government > public administration) is this self-justifying Americanist mythology that EVERYONE seems to buy into except for a handful of left libertarians like Anthony Gregory and PaleoCons at the HL Mencken society. The USA has a terrible record, and is far worse than feudal Germany in terms of respect for property and liberty. And the American Revolution was a joke to begin with. Oi.
  4. I've never been convinced by the distortion/Cave shadow type of arguments. Certainly the brain is capable of errors (i.e. producing a mental action which is not a thought), and certainly the senses are capable of providing us information we misinterpret, but the leap to scepticism or weak solipsism just isn't entailed by these issues. As we are in the same reality as the things we 'see', the relationship that exists is a logical one. We may make errors due to a lack of awareness of the biases of our minds and senses, but in principle it's all subject to the laws of reason and inference.
  5. I have a whole bunch of objections to that on practical and logical grounds. The most damning would probably Anthony de Jasay's The State. To paraphrase him, 'a capitalist state must not want to be a state'. It's an objective contradiction in means and ends. Though I agree with George Smith that Rand's ideal(ized) government without taxation approaches anarchism (in the same sense that Rothbard's private protection agencies and contract cities approach what many anarchists would consider a government). I think there is some room for accomodation, but anything rooted in the concept of the political means and the bureaucratic state is libertarian suicide. Potassium cyanide in your water. I know a couple (I like his lectures better), but I was mostly making fun of Ominous Parallels.
  6. To add a few more thoughts, many attempts to treat consciousness as having a different level or alternate non-physical composition strike me as a reification of consciousness. Consciousness is a non-precisive abstraction - not any particular individual consciousness, not any particular material brain. This is a valid abstraction, but we can't allow it to trick us into thinking that there is consciousness independent of individual instances or their machinery that makes up the processes of mind. I know most Objectvists would agree firmly with the former and in some sense with the latter, but in their treatment of the Mind I sense some reification or Rationalism going on that is based on a broken ontology. As mentioned before, it is the structure of our minds and the rest of the world ontologically that makes rationality possible and reason valid. If one denies determinacy and physical realism I don't see how one can say that this metaphysical picture pertains, as the reason things exist is that they are things in particular and have some properties and not others. To say that a property of a thing is that its property varies strikes me as an invalid application of the concept of properties.
  7. Never thought about it like that. With neighbors like Dagny, Ragnar, Francisco, Hank and Johnny, life would have less passion than a bowl of cold oatmeal. Get me back my red-blooded American politic with its envy-driven progressives, theocratic Republicans, gun-hating soccer moms, and bomb 'em first nationalists. Soccer moms. Watch out for that group. It's all that Kant they're reading. As they reject the external world, they believe that violence is only an imaginary evil, while the hostility embodied in the use of weapons is an evil against one's own Noumena. Once we understand that guns aren't real, we'll understand.
  8. I am about 45 pages into this. I think his approach to ethics is interesting, and there are some technical points that are intruiging in terms of a philosophy of teleology and law. I'll reproduce some passages here: Moral Judgement as Principled Egoism in Evaluation, 'Cognition and Evaluation' Guilt and Advocacy, Limited Liability. From 'Error and Evil' David Kelley is one of few philosophers I've read who recognize the legitimacy and importance of limited liability in law and contract. Robert Hessen (also influenced by Objectivism) is another. This is a very important point with the rise of 'left-libertarianism' and the anti-corporate movement.
  9. I agree with this - metaphysics and ontology are the basis of logic as a valid method. I still disagree with you about the 'compartmentalized randomness'. I'd say a more likely explanation for small-scale and circumstantial phenomena that are really weird is that they operate according to really weird principles we don't have much direct contact with, and we may never practically be able to look inside of them. For instance, I think it is possible that Einstenian localist determinism is wrong, but that wouldn't rule out holistic determinism. Quantum phenomena seem to be all about the relative potential of different states, so we might just be looking at it wrong to think of spatial motion, rather than potential locations, as the core of bodies in motion. As far as 'different faculties' go, everything is logical in potential. Everything has to be coherent to be real. It's a property of objects: coherency. So, even though there are many potential mechanical techniques for observation which we lack we nonetheless can expect any potential object to behave logically. It wouldn't even make any sense to talk about 'it' or 'it's behavior' if it didn't. Now I am sure you agree with the laws of logic, but I think that the ontology that allows reason and makes logic valid is also a necessarily physical one, wherein a things entire existence is predicated upon it having particular properties. If a thing is not some specific substance it is not really anything at all. If a substance lacks definite properties whenever its potential is actuated then it is not a real substance. Randomness, even in a closet, doesn't seem to jibe with this. Finally, 'randomness' does nothing for 'free will'. The options are deterministic will and random will. 'Free' will is an anti-concept. Even more finally, this is a pretty trivial (though interesting) argument IMO. Since I don't believe legal or moral responsibility are even related to 'freedom of the will', and I think intentionality is real but causal, it amounts mainly to attempts to explore or correct positions about which we probably largely agree.
  10. Realistically people, a bunch of libertarian nerds who are also industrial professionals could probably manage to hang out indefinitely without seriously requirement 'rights' enforced. Annoying each other too much just wouldn't be worth it. Galt's Gulch doesn't really say anything about anarchy, except insofar as one thinks you can extrapolate individual person relationships into wider social behavior. However, a bunch of dudes and one chick could go south.
  11. I feel like your argument conflates epistemic and information issues with ontological issues. Real objects are not information. Information only has existence if there is someone who potentially has power of judgment to exercise on it (John Searle). Particular events are determined by the behavior of discrete objects, which are in principle rational. That doesn't mean we necessarily have access to the ability to physically observe, investigate or predict that process. One issue is ontological, the other an issue of how one would convey or obtain information of the historical processes of the particular objects.
  12. I find intellectual history absolutely fascinating and essential for understanding the development of moral, religious and political systems. You and Rothbard are some of the only non-religious libertarians I know who show the theological tendencies which find new life in liberalism, socialism and various individualist and collectivist movements. I think understanding the origins and implications of these ideas, implicitly built into our formulations, can help us to understand history better as well as avoid falling into ideological traps that such theories seem prone to.
  13. Rand (like many people on the American Right) had a somewhat mythological view of American history. While I sympathize with some of the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment, it won't do to ignore the connexion to theology it had, or how dramatically and easily it drifted into bureaucratic statism even amonst fairly radical persons. This probably had to do with the liberal-humanist-republican belief in public virtue (i.e., virtuous citizens make virtuous politicians) when anarchists would be more likely to believe that public office turns virtue to the service of vice; i.e. the more natural talent a man has the more evil he can do in office.
  14. Why have terrible ideas been so consistently popular? Why are popular versions of good ideas (atheism, physical sciences) always baldurized into irrational nonsense when the public becomes aware of them? I support capitalism partly because the general public are stupid and (in the Objectivist sense) irrational. I'd like to avoid them having any levers of power over me, and to be able to make what use I can of their economic talents. I am pro-human in a qualified sense. I think man is something to be overcome.