Derek McGowan

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Derek McGowan

  1. thanks moralist, this is exactly the sort of response I wanted (one where you quote me- though I didn't want to ask you to do all that research) In one of my conversations with JTS I believe, it was revealed that I have a different definition of capitalism. The definition of capitalism I use is quite similar to the one that pops up on a google definition search: an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. This definition revolves around the pursuit of profit. The objectivist's definition, provided by JTS, was one that focused on the recognition of rights. Of course I'm not against that definition, nor am I against your definition's focus on private property. Hell, I'm not even against my personal definition. What I was trying to say in my welcome post was that I'm fine with capitalism AS LONG AS IT provides for freedom. I'm for ANY system that can demonstrate that it provides for freedom, and the more freedom the better right? The capitalism of the southern past had a large foundation of slavery. Slavery= non freedom= I'm not for it. Socialism, communism, marxism= extra controls= non freedom= I'm not for it. BUt since my focus is on freedom and since I personally I feel that there is always a better way in all things, my book is my creation of a better way. I have previously defined freedom as- my ability to pursue whatever I care to in my life, and not, my ability to have others do things for me. Therefore freedom, for me, doesn't have to contain money. Money is a quite neccessary requirement for trade in an environment of scarcity. I would never deny that. But it is not necessary for freedom if there was no scarcity. Therefore my focus, and my book, is on how to eliminate scarcity. So then I have to ask you, are you possibly hung up on how this elimination of scarcity may be implemented? I feel that that may be the issue for some people. They hear me say no money, and they assume that that would mean, government, or some group, forcefully taking or burning all the money and decreeing a new way of life on all citizens. Uhhh no, that would =non freedom which = I'm not for it. My book explores a path no the elimination of scarcity, then some citizens come to realize that they no longer need money. That's it. The beauty of the elimination of scarcity is that, if some people want to continue using money for what ever reasons, they can go right ahead, but if others decided to stop, then they are free to leave the game. You can leave the game today as well (move into the woods and live off the grid) but it will seriously impact your life. My book gives the freedom to make either choice and have NO impact. So, does that sound like I want to social engineer something?
  2. Why not, Could you participate as well and explain how you have interpreted my solution? It will help me to clarify as I move forward
  3. I'm sorry moralist, but I think their is a misunderstanding in how my solution could come to fruition (how it comes into effect in the book). This is probably my fault because, in an attempt to not spoil my story, I haven't leaked many of the pertinent details. Just to get on the same page, what do you think my solution involves? Could you please spell out your complete understanding of what I am promoting in the book and how it appears to be collective social engineering. Then I could perhaps clarify my position
  4. Why not, I didn't think,initially, that is was either, but when moralist used the statement collective social engineering, I started to see how my book could be interpreted as such even though my solution involves n o (at least not directly) government intervention. Then I started to see how galt's gulch could be interpreted as such as well. I mean the members had to to a pledge and follow the rules, even if those rules were very very few, and those rules were presented by 3-4 guys (rule by a minority, same as the basic definition of government) But I'd love to hear moralists interpretation
  5. Just a quick clarification, when you say collective social engineering, would you consider galt's gulch to qualify as such? Why or why not
  6. I suppose the reason our views/solutions differ is because we have different goals in mind.
  7. I was hoping for some responses on the original post
  8. I'm writing on my cell so I may not be fully clear. I thought this was a simple question so I'm hoping my current format will not produce problems beyond typos. My question, purely out of curiosity, is whether rand explicitly stated a value system to rank producers. It's clear that she abhor the takers and she holds contempt for the crony capitalists, so they are ranked lowly, but did she ever distinguish between a successful producer who works in their line of passion or an equally successful producer who simply gives the people what they want? If neither breaks rules, is honest and provides exactly what they say they will, when they say, but one is following a lifetime dream and the other is an opportunist. Is one "worth" more in the same way that roarke was "worth" more than the other architects in the fountainhead?
  9. Who said anything about force? I'm saying that there are real (financial, peer) pressures to choosing wall street vs theoretical physics (or whatever else). Of course their is a choice but of course their is also real pressures. Same as their is a real choice to break whatever government regulations that may be dreamt up but the existence of that choice doesn't negate the pressures and consequences. Im for choice and I belive in consequences, I just wish that certain pressures didn't exist (same as everyone here wished that governmental or collectivist pressures didn't exist) because then choice could be made more freely. Anyway, I know several of you already understand my stance. You don't have to agree but maybe if you read..... My book? : )
  10. yes, you have it right though I don't constrain my view just to the plight of the artist. I truly feel that the vast majority of people have natural inclinations to certain areas of productivity whether it is building houses or building crossword puzzles. Or demolishing homes or solving crossword puzzles. I also believe strongly that the vast majority of people cannot pursue their passions or, whats worse, don't even know where their passions lay because society has pushed most people into the relatively few industries that make money. Example would be the hoards of mathematical geniuses that exit the world's most prominent universities and go directly to wall street, do not pass go, but please collect your 200,000 dollars. I could care less how much those guys make but I'm certain that if not for the allure of wealth, which a society that worships money has created, many of these individuals would have used their considerable talent for other things. Who knows what. (just clarifying, I'm sure you really do understand my position) I also agree with your second paragraph of the above quote, that survival is reality. This is why my focus and philosophy of the book is on how to relive the burden of survival so that we can concentrate on our passions. Again, my book is fictional but I think it is possible in the future and I think I wrote a realistic story on how it could happen. I tried my best to include views from multiple personalities. I tried to never exaggerate those personalities (as unfortunately Mrs Rand did). I look at what I believed to be a natural progression of technology and the how the world would react to it. Yes, I would be the first to say that my "Path to Free" only occurs by very specific events (such as a pivotal choice that occurs in the third Era) but its all within the realm of possibility. Also I think I included multiple other topics of discussion as the individuals live their ordinary lives. So... you wanna read it????!!! As a realist, I'm well aware of reality and I don't deal in ideals. I may bring up extremes from time to time in order to logically work my way through thought exercises but never ideals. Therefore my philosophy is only theoretical and I agree wholeheartedly that until such time that we can change the environment of scarcity, perhaps through the two technological advances that occur in my book, I believe that capitalism is the fairest, most reasonable system that can be used to offer a sense of freedom to the citizens of the world (even though it is not a complete freedom)
  11. enjoy. I will warn though for Primer- it was made on a 5000 dollar budget so the sound is not as clear as you may like early in the film... you will get used to it as it progresses though
  12. Moralist, two things. in the environment that I have in my book, money is not required. So why keep it around if it has no essential use. Sure it could be kept around out of tradition or because it puts people at ease or whatever, but it wouldnt have an actual need. Second, I do find a problem with money (and I mean the physical use of currency of any sort) and that is what appears to be an unstoppable destiny, one in which the money becomes, in the minds of the population, a ends in and of itself, instead of being a means to an end. It becomes almost a worshiping of money and my problem with that is that people no longer seek and follow their natural inclinations, gifts and/or dreams. Instead the become mentally enslaved to a lifetime mission of mere acquisition of more and more currency in order to either keep up with the Joneses (keeping score as many wealthy individuals have called it) or simply in order to survive in a society that has based all the rules around the acquisition of more and more currency. I'm much more a believer in productivity but certain elements of today's society have shown a strong belief in wealth without production. Example: patent trolls. Im sure you are familiar with the concept, these are companies that purchase patents NOT so that they can bring new and exciting things to life, but merely to sue others. They only want the money, it has become the driving factor when I feel the money should come as a result of hard work and production.
  13. Two great films that I recommend to people are Waking Life and Primer. Waking Life is ... Well I honestly don't know what it is about. A journey of discovery I suppose. But it is during this guy's journey that he is introduced to all sorts of philosophical views. It's view after view and seriously dense with ideas. You really have to strap in and be ready to absorb. Primer is an independent film that is the most realistic portrayal of time travel that I have seen. Both could be had on Amazon for dirt cheap. Enjoy
  14. I could be wrong but I feel that everyone but Jonathan misunderstood my post. Maybe it was because I wrote it on my cell phone and I should have just waited tell I had more time and a keyboard to further clarify. I'm not asking for any government solutions, I thought that was what my closing statement said. I wanted to know what would be the freedom based solution. One of the above happens and I want to take it to court, I cant bring up a contract with the judge when it comes down to my first example because after my made up agitator comes on the scene, the contract he presents IS the one that tells me to pay or else. Before he comes along, I cant have a contract drawn up that states my wishes to who ever later comes along to by the parcel in front of me. I have no rights over land that isn't mine. The first time me and my agitator speak is when he presents his demands. I'm just looking for a solution. Seems to me that it could be a business model to buy land in such positions with the plan of doing absolutely no productive development but simply to ask for "protection" money from other owners. Why do I think this is possible? Because it may happen soon. I heard the report in the news last year about how the Federal government may soon begin paying people in and around the Amazon rain forest to NOT cut down the trees. That sounds like a slippery slope to extortion. as far as my second example, Yes Jonathan, I am saying that I would have parked on a lot that clearly states Unauthorized Vehicles will be towed. That's why I know that I cant take that to arbitration either. I'd just rather not have the tow company just make up some penalty. Like you can't have the car back unless you give us your house. "Predatory" towing is clearly not illegal and I hold no pity for someone who parks where they shouldn't but shouldn't there be a limit on what that "contract" (the sign posted which states which company will do the towing and when) can say. ...... Or if not... then fuck it.... then again, just forget my whole post. If you guys want to start talking about government controls and that I deserve them, instead of trying to either work out a problem or, if you already have the solution, provide it to me, then just forget it...
  15. In return for what? Why on Earth should anyone invest any time in meeting your demands? What makes you so special? It is not like you work for NPR or Reason and want to publicize us. You certainly have not offered any money. I write for pay. I usually charge my favorite Not-for-Profit 10 cents per word, but I just charged half that to a company that makes penis massagers because their request for medical research content for their website was interesting. If you need a larger penis, I can refer you. If you cannot figure out for yourself how freedom works, then you deserve the government you have. Sign up for ObamaCare here: Huh?
  16. We have covered zoning and contracts and the natural controls that arrive through litigation but I had a few more questions. My real question in these examples is whether a judge (the arbiter) would side with the "extortionist" and if so, what is the "victims" response other then physical violence. Well to do beach front community or any other local with a viee. Some new entrant buys a large parcel of land specifically with the intention of " either you pay me annually or I build a wall and block the view" Tow truck company. Your car gets towed and when you go to pick it up they say you have to pay the full purchase price of the vehicle to get it back. The fenced in perimeter. A person buys the land around a neighborhood and fences "their" land in which of course also fences in the neighborhood. Then only offer access to their land (the only way out of the neighborhood) to those who pay. I think of these examples as current patent trolls, as in they are not in business to produce anything but to "legally" extort from others. Also it is important to point out that the tow companies have the right to take your car but don't sign a contract with you therefore they would not be driven out of business by complaints from the "victims" I'm looking for the logical, freedom based solution
  17. Lol! My wife worked for State department for a number of years, during which she escorted various foreigners around. Of course to make conversation, she would start by asking them to say how America is different from their home land. She said the vast majority of them was surprised to see how many places to eat we have here
  18. I agree with you dldelancey. My nieces are home schooled
  19. It also sounds like it would take a fundamental transformation of the human mind/brain which would include a comple change in the hard wiring. when you say hard wired, i say I agree. That's why I could NEVER think that people through some idealistic fairy tale could simply assume a new way of thinking. Our mentalities has been forged over a millennium of evolution in a environment of scarcity. That's why my vision, if it were to come about, could only happen with a physical change in the environment. I belive the human race is up to that task. Now as far a utopian society... that's impossible. Fully 100% impossible. You can never please everyone and even the people who are pleased will soon grow to take the new environment for granted. My vision simply allows for more freedoms, it doesn't remove all problems and of course new problems would arrive. I could see thievery going away in an environment of abundance but there will still be rape and murder. Though murder may go down because jealousy over what others have would go down, or at least transform into something else
  20. I want fine cuisine to appear in front of me whenever I wish for it. I want to fly on private jets and magic carpets and go wherever I wish whenever I wish and see the sights of the world. I want to stay in fabulous hotel suites and be treated like a rock star. I want fashion models to throw themselves at me. I want to be the greatest professional basketball player of all time. And I want all of the above without having to do any work, or put in any effort whatsoever. That's how I want to spend my life. Since the above is not going to happen, am I therefore "free" by your definition? If reality doesn't conform to my wishes, I'm somehow not "free," and, not only that, but you consider it a "drawback of capitalism"?!!!! Logically, that would suggest that you think that there is an alternative system to capitalism which does allow people to successfully wish for things. You say that you "do not define freedom as an ability to get others to do things for me or to force them to do things for me or having to do with others in any sense unless I so choose to deal with them." If that's true, then all political systems have the same "drawback" that you attribute to capitalism: One cannot wish for and magically acquire food, free travel, room and board, financial success, fame, etc., in any system without forcing others to produce it or pay for it. Not being able to have one's wishes granted is not a defect of capitalism. Rather, it's a fact of reality. Our means of existence doesn't just magically appear. We have to produce it. Let me ask it this way: Let's say that there's a guy named Charles, and he is the only person in existence. Is he free by your definition? If he wishes to continue living, he must do certain things to provide for his existence, even if he doesn't want to do them, no? He can't spend his time doing whatever he wants. If all he wants to do is dance and sing, then he's not going to live very long. Dancing and singing won't provide food of shelter. So, what would allow Charles to be "free" by your definition? J wanting things is not what I meant by freedom. The ability to pursue the things I want is what I meant by freedom. You are right, all systems DO have these drawbacks, all systems that operate in an environment of scarcity. Do I have an alternative, of course I do, but it is very futuristic and it may never happen. Even if the parts that allow for it to happen doesn't necessarily mean that those parts will come together to create my alternative. I would say that you example with Charles is slightly different then what my point was. Slightly different because he is the only person. My point was that because charles has to survive then he needs certain things. He cant pursue his dreams unless he has those certain things. In the capitalistic society (my definition), those things are used as leverage against him, causing him to spend his time doing things he otherwise wouldn't, thereby leaving less time to do what he wants. It is because there are those other people who use that leverage that I called it a form of coercion. Leverage is coercion. Your example, he is the only man, well no he isn't free to follow his dreams but my point was to show the coercion from others in our current system
  21. One fact that you seem to be overlooking is that most people don't experience what you do: they don't have a life's passion, and never will. They don't have that burning desire to create and produce. Even when exposed to endless possible interests, and being offered a free education, they will never have the fire in the belly that you have. J I can only agree with this. My vision (futuristic society) would still be promising in this regard because those individuals who have no motivation and who decide to do nothing, couldn't possibly be a drag on me or any one else. They would be free to do nothing and I would be free to make associations with others. They wouldn't effect me and I wouldn't effect them
  22. the abundance part is only important because it would "free" people from having to do the other things (things they dont want to do) in order for basic survival and comfort. I'm not saying this is possible, but if every had a means of unlimited self production of basic items (food, water, clothing) which they had full control over how much or how little they wanted to produce, then there would be no coerced relationships. The relationships I speak of are the failed marriages where the couple stays together because of a reliance on one or the others income; putting up with a boss or a job you hate because of reliance on the paycheck and a lack of (perceived or otherwise) additional jobs one may trade out for, etc. You have no leverage over me in a negotiation, thus no "forced' coercion if I have full control of my survival. Our negotiations can then move on additional services that you may provide but I would be completely free to end any and all associations whenever I damn well pleased because I have no fear of starvation..... of course this would also only be possible with an outlawing of physical force as well
  23. We had a discussion about future technologies that could "beam" power wirelessly and the main thing we kept getting hung up on was the possibly harm to an individual who steps into the line of sight. If there is enough power to power a home then I would assume that stepping into the path would fry someone. If the power is not directed but is simply radiated out in all directions then that would prove to be wasteful I think. Keep in mind though that I am incredibly optimistic about human's figuring ways around such problems and I look forward to an era without the wires
  24. it is becoming clear that you are purposely misrepresenting my points, I never said anything about fraud. I never said anything about offering solutions. I have nothing against letting the world know what I've produced. My issue is that people, not all but many, and by nature, are highly influenced by certain kinds of phenomena such as peer pressure, celebrity endorsements, certain colors, etc. Marketers are paid to find those things and use them to get people to buy the products. Again, I pass no judgement on that. All Im saying is that that creates a kind of slave. I dont understand how your story has relevance to my point. In fact it seems like the sister is more satisfied in an environment where people tell her what to do. She feels that way, to the high extent that she does, BECAUSE she was raised in a society where people told her what to do. If the same is done in a commercial world, even if it is not by forced coercion, it is still not freedom of choice. Again, I stated that I find this aspect of the lack of freedom in current society to be the least objectionable because people like you and I can see past all the commercialism. But for you to simply discount the fact that many people can't see past the commercialism is a serious lack of observation. Of course people should wake up and make their own decisions, I can make that statement with full conviction. No, I don't think people should be "protected" from mental coercion--I think they should study, research, and learn to think for themselves. But I acknowledge that there are people who have not learned this skill and I merely observe that for THEM, they are not completely free.