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Everything posted by Anya

  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.
  15. Art, like mythology to which it contributes, is worth what you put into it. Art can never be comprehensive, and would lose its effect if it tried to be. The ambiguities and susceptibility to interpretation are what give them their great psychological power. They become symbols and parables that we can cognitively reframe our life and our abstractions in. Certain pieces of art will contain elements that provoke a given person more, but art and mythology are not defined by consistency or 'message' necessarily; these can be used to good or bad effect. I'd recommend Walter Kaufmann's A Critique of Religion and Philosophy and some of Nietzsche's work on the heroism of tragedy for examples at odds with some Objectivist views. This isn't to say that there aren't literal or intended thematic elements in artistic work that we can detect. Ayn Rand is obviously invoking promethean individualism and depicting some versimilitude of the 'forgotten man' of capital and industry. Yet the fact that it can easily be appealed to by market anarchists, something probably not consciously intended by Rand, shows that even a work which evokes deliberate values and visions of individual virtue can become more useful by its ambiguities and symbolic attributes than it would by being written in a completely consistent narrative; and sometimes the original intent of the work's originator may be irrelevant to its uses for us. To make an extended quote from Max Stirner
  16. This is why I prefer to think of them as different aspects of the same thing or things. Certain objects in relation to one another, due to their properties, will develop into systems with distinct properties as a system. The physical brain is identical to the mind, insofar as its parts constitute a sufficient structure to cause such a system to develop.
  17. A silly repackage. If we are honest about humanity, we have to admit it is more the intellectual and character failings of the masses than those of their masters who are to blame for the sad state of civilization. The politicians are at least a bit less naive and impulsive in their political thinking, even if they are gangsters. The lumpenproletariat's evolutionary psychology is the main problem, and their willingness to herd-up and indulge in Five Minutes of Hate are what keep Leviathan fat and strong. Christopher Cieter's Nietzschean Libertarianism makes more sense to me, as does the misanthropic libertarianism of Albert Jay Nock or H.L. Mencken. We're really going to have to give up the tribal-ape 'activism' paradigm where we pretend that individuals can exert some sort of rationalistic influence on the masses. They hear what they want to hear; they're flexible but they're also stubborn about their cannibalistic self-esteem. I'm not sure what the answer is, but converting everyone to Objectivism or selling any consistent laissez-faire package (i.e., one that does not rely on apologizing for profit) is probably not going to happen for a very long time. Selling a populist, apologetical form is going to be rejected because of broken moral heuristics like 'fairness' and expectations of egalitarian tribal structures; doing so would be self-defeating in the long run, anyway. Please keep in mind I am not subscribing to crude instinctualism, I am describing the biases most people have in thinking and how they compound when tribal jungle animals are thrown into a modern industrial environment that does not have the psychological cues they are used to seeking for self-esteem and belonging.
  18. Jeffrey Friedman (who is not a libertarian) makes the point that organs of the political means have an inherent epistemic blindspot in that only people who believe in the efficacy of the political means tend to be interested in joining it. Combined with their lack of mooring in economic calculation and ability to finance themselves through extortion, they also have no real means of gaining correction.
  19. Sometimes I think that anyone who can get himself elected should be deported. Oi.
  20. Reading this review, it again strikes me how reminescent Rand's work is of revolutionary liberalism and socialism. Her inversion of Comtean positivism and Communist economic theories is striking enough to call it Bizarro Narodism. New Capitalist Man will arise to stunning heights, everyone using his reason to become an Aristotle or Mozart. It's an excellent Promethean tale (which, of course, is a shared heritage with socialist mythologies).
  21. I would agree with most of what you wrote except for a couple of points. I would not call them different 'levels'. I would say they are different aspects of reality. The physical processes of the molecular structure of our minds, as described by mathematical formula and empirical interpretation, would be the aspect of particular discrete physical processes. Another aspect would be that of human action, a system of volition and judgment which is constituted of these physical processes in any concrete instance, but which has its own science (to make a weak analogy, think of mathematics: mathematics describe a reality about discrete objects, but any actual numbers will only exist as instantiated by material structures) to describe it, and a methodology appropriate to that science. The other disagreement I have is with 'randomness'. I do not think this is a coherent concept if we mean it to be 'undertermined', see Feyman's lectures in New Zealand where he gives a deterministic explanation of quantum phenomena based on a particle's spin at various potential points. It's not Newtonian, but it's not random or ghostly. As for how volition interacts with the world, I reject 'free will' as a non-concept, a confusion of disparate ideas about non-causality and intentionality. Intentionality, like reason, is a potential product of certain systems in our mind. When we choose to do things we actually intend to do them. However, from a physical and praxeological point of view, these actions are determined by the particular states of our brain and the ideas and valuations which exist. If our actions did not conform to the behavior of our bodies and ends-means concepts already existing they would not be our actions. I do not think 'free will' is necessary to resolve the issue of legal responsibility or intentional behavior, and I don't think it's even logically related to the question of morality.
  22. For similar philosophical and empirical reasons such as Thomas Szasz: The concept of a 'sick mind' is a confusion of types, it's like assigning 'youthfulness' to the color red. It might be fine as a metaphor, but literally speaking it's nonsensical. 'Mental health' is, in fact, moralizing aimed at the behavior and personality traits which make people uncomfortable. If you look into the DSM or places like psychology today you will see clear evidence of moralizing and paternalism, with a distinctly Humanist-altruist slant to it (all sorts of 'disorders' are found for people who don't like to conform well enough, much like in the Soviet Union). The DSM is a Cold-Reader's manual, with no objective criterion and a lot of value judgments disguised as analytical formulations. The psychopharma industry's 'anti-depressents', etc. are simply assumed to 'work' despite the lack of any understanding of a causal mechanism and the fact that over the long term most of their 'results' decline to statistical error. It does support that theory, in as much as medical care bought and sought is undoubtedly the result of the bizarre incentive and market structure created by the State over the past two hundred years in its various attempts to regulate and subordinate the medical industry. Of course that isn't to say there aren't real medical procedures, only that Psycho-Pharma in addition to being pseudoscientific in its own right is further distorted away from its beneficial elements (i.e., it may help to talk to people, or obtain certain chemical treatments for the purposes of emotional management) toward a drugging-based approach where the doctor mostly does paperwork. There are other reasons to believe health care in general is generally the aim of irrational/pointless purchases and poor path selection by customers and professionals. See here: (I'm not saying that real, rational health care isn't possible, just that it's a more difficult industry and is has a customer base with poor understanding of what constitutes the best means for their ends; popular art would be comparable in many ways, also somewhat regulated indirectly by state controls on media access). There is some personal experience involved, but largely comes from reading the journals and work of various therapeutic agencies and their stated goals and methods internally. They're fully part of a Progressive ideology dedicated to eliminating the 'sickness' of anyone who is discontent with their diseased system. While some exceptions may exist, they are as rare as among Priests; nonsense and incompetence are the rule. This is an industry that has never existed independent of state subsidy. The closest exception would be some talk therapists or the private consumption of mood altering drugs. The Mental Health industry's education, authority, monopoly and often power over others derive entirely from the State and they are well adapted to this condition.
  23. Bob, Bingo. That's called a field. It's not energy and it exists. (btw - Just to be a smartass, the word is emanating, not eminating. ) Michael I am highly skeptical whether magnetic fields exist. All those phenomena are better explained by superposition of particles. 'Waves' and 'fields' are old-hat, boy. They are entirely explained by the actions of subatomic particle exchange. Gravity is a bit weirder, but space isn't an object. However, these models are speculative. And I don't want to say I have an exhaustive theory of physical existence and reality more broadly. I just think that physicalism is necessary for realism, if things have 'properties' they must exhibit them upon objects in the Universe at least potentially. I don't think the 'field' is quite the object, though it may be real as in 'this relationship obtains'. The 'four physical forces' are properties of discrete objects, abstracted from the concrete that a number of particles have a certain behaviors which we've distinguished as electro-magnetic, weak nuclear, etc. However, model interpretation is problematic because we know the models don't contain a lot of elements which would have to exist in order to work. Thus we may end up assigning more primacy to, say, atoms than they deserve.
  24. An "immaterial object" is a contradiction in terms. --Brant are we confusing matter and energy?--matter is another form of energy or energy is reflected in different types of matter--regardless, matter is actually a subcategory of energy and is why absolute zero is an impossibility except as a theoretical mind construct, for if vice versa energy would be a subcategory of matter and absolute zero possible--that is, a true vacuum or actual non-existence, except non-existence cannot exist; it's a contradiction! --Brant sort of drunk, as usual, for those who want to hit me with a. ad h. I agree.