Darrell Hougen

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Everything posted by Darrell Hougen

  1. Michael, That's why the governmental and societal system of the United States is sometimes called the "American experiment." No one knows whether it will last or how long it will last. It has lasted longer than most governments in the modern era, but most of the long history of humanity has seen autocratic rulers. Arguably, that is the natural condition of man: A king, a dictator, a tyrant, a despot. Of course, the founders knew this, which is why they attempted to create a system of checks and balances that would prevent any one person from becoming too powerful. Unfortunately, that
  2. Michael, I'm not trying to side step the question. That's why I spent a few sentences describing what zygote-blastocyst-embryo-fetus is before launching into a discussion of what I think the rights of the woman and zygote-blastocyst-embryo-fetus are. Darrell
  3. Michael, The state does not exist within a person's body, but a person exists within the dominion of the state. You could say that a person should have sovereignty over the inside of his or her body. Then it would be seen that the question of sovereignty over ones innards is a question of individual rights. It doesn't precede questions of individual rights. Personally, I don't see it as a slippery slope. The only time the state would have an interest in the inside of a person is if there were someone else living inside that person. With regard to the humanness of the fetus,
  4. Michael, I agree completely that the "thing" is human. I just have a hard time with nomenclature because there are so many names for the unborn including zygote, blastocyst, embryo and fetus. The question is not whether the thing is human. The question is whether it is sufficiently well developed to merit some form of protection by the state. Darrell
  5. Michael, You raise an interesting question and it is one with which I have struggled. I've come up with a few different tests for determining whether a government is legitimate, though none is totally satisfactory. The first test is to ask whether a rational person would be willing to live in a particular country given it's governmental system or not. Of course, that can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. One way would be to demand that country be an ideal Objectivist utopia. Unfortunately, I see a lot of Objectivists who seem to think that way. Among other things, I
  6. Michael, I'm not sure what to make of your argument. Might makes right? So? Were not talking about the way things are. We're talking about the way things should be. We're talking about morality, about ethics, about rights. Your original argument is that a woman should have sovereignty over her own body. Obviously, whether she does or not is a matter to be decided by other members of society. If she lives in a kingdom, then the king has sovereignty. Don't believe it? Try crossing him. In a democratic republic, the voters and their elected representatives have sovereignty.
  7. Hi Michael, In my opinion, your example concerning Somalia shows the problem with your formulation. You're putting the cart before the horse by putting sovereignty before individual rights. Here is a relevant quote of Ayn Rand: In other words, there is no reason to respect the so-called "sovereignty" of a state or country that doesn't protect individual rights. Such a country has no legitimacy. The question of abortion is complex because the thing growing inside a woman undergoes a number of developmental changes, from zygote to blastocyst to a collection of distinct ite
  8. I wonder at what point scientists decided that the 30 year window was appropriate. 30 is often considered the minimum size of a statistical sample, so there might be a legitimate reason for using that number, but it seems very convenient in the current debate. If I recall correctly, climate alarmism really got going around the year 2000. By comparing the current temperature to the 30 year average, it allowed weather forecasters to average in the particularly cold 1970's while ignoring earlier decades that were actually warmer. It also brings up the question of what is "normal."
  9. Why should I read beyond that line? That sounds like the raving of a crazy man. It sounds like conspiracy theory to the hilt. Darrell
  10. Also, J. P. Morgan died in 1913. So, whatever sins his family committed after his death should not be blamed on him. John D. Rockefeller died in 1937, 4 years after Hitler rose to power, so there might be some overlap there. Cornelius Vanderbilt died in 1877. Andrew Carnegie died in 1919. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 under President Woodrow Wilson. Darrell
  11. Hi Jon,I have trouble believing everything you posted, starting with their connection to the Nazis. It may be difficult to know for certain, but it didn't take long to find an author who contradicts what you quoted above: Darrell
  12. I think people who want socialism generally have no historical perspective. The Plymouth Colony was a (failed and abandoned) experiment in socialism. The Jamestown colony was another (failed and abandoned) experiment in socialism. The entire state of Georgia was a (failed and abandoned) experiment in socialism. Numerous other communities in the United States and Europe have tried socialism since times predating the Soviet Union by hundreds of years. It's been tried throughout the world in numerous countries and it has always failed. And yet ... And yet ... next time we'll get it right. Ho
  13. What do you have against Rockefeller and Morgan? I have to admit I'm a bit biased, having read a book called "Captains of Industry" when I was a kid that heaped praise on all the 19th century giants. But, I have always been a big fan of those early American capitalists: Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Morgan, Ford, etc. They probably formed the archetype for some of Ayn Rand's characters like Frank Rearden, Ellis Wyatt and Francisco D'Anconia. Darrell
  14. I can't say I'm a big fan of cryptocurrencies. My problem is that they're not anonymous. If they were completely anonymous, I'd be much more likely to get on board. They can also be lost or hacked. Still, it's good to have alternatives. Darrell
  15. As a friend put it, "They were eating the seed corn." Consuming the resources that should have been invested makes a person feel rich until next year ... when there is no harvest. Darrell
  16. Reason magazine had a good article on the events that I saw over the weekend. Apparently, the boys suffered verbal abuse for a couple of hours and yet remained pretty calm through it all. Yet, somehow it's their fault. http://reason.com/blog/2019/01/20/covington-catholic-nathan-phillips-video Darrell
  17. I promised Merlin that I would analyze his "solutions" to see if they were correct. Of course, Jonathan, Jon Letendre, and Max have already analyzed his "solutions," so my analysis won't really add anything new. Still, I need to make good on my promise. Here are Merlin's solutions as taken from the relevant Wikipedia page: Aristotle's paradox is related to the fact that it is possible to find a one-to-one mapping of all the points in an interval of a particular length to all of the points in an interval of a different length. Since none of the "solutions" above has anything to do
  18. If you're bored and have extra time, here is a video explaining how to build one. Darrell
  19. Just as a point of interest, someone in my family used to have a contraption like the one depicted above, except that instead of having a crayon, the end of the rod had a handle. I think it was called a "Do nothing." You could turn the crank for hours and by doing so you would accomplish ... nothing. Darrell
  20. Since I came late to the party, I decided to try to solve the problem without looking at other solutions and came up with a slightly different approach. Let r be the distance between the two pins and let the origin of the coordinate system be in the middle of the figure. Then, by the Pythagorean theorem, x2 + y2 = r2 That is also the equation of a circle. We can also give the equations of a circle in parametric form: x = r*cos(t) y = r*sin(t) Given that, what would the equations of the crayon be? Let R be the distance from the y-pin to the crayon. Then, if X
  21. I'm just going to restate Aristotle's Wheel Paradox for people who don't seem to understand it because of the mechanical aspects of the problem. Forget about wheels. Instead, consider the function f(x) = 2x defined on the interval [0, 1]. Then, if y = f(x), y is defined on the interval [0, 2]. The function f(x) has an inverse, so that x = f-1(y). Specifically, x = y/2. Now, let yi be any point in [0, 2]. Then there is a corresponding point, xi = yi/2 in [0, 1]. Similarly, let xj be any point in [0, 1]. Then there is a corresponding point, yj = 2xj in [0, 2]. Now, assume tha
  22. Hi Max, Perhaps I can choose files, but when I've tried that in the past, I've had difficulties. That's why I started copying and pasting. Looks like I'll have to start dragging and dropping. I don't know what Total Commander is, but that wasn't really the point. I just mentioned using Windows Explorer in order to make things concrete --- I'm dragging and dropping from a file system viewer rather than from an image viewer. I'm not sure if this upload limitation is a new thing or what. I'm guessing that I wouldn't be able to upload the picture of the three bottles any longer. You
  23. For your amusement: BTW, I'm having the same problem as Max. I seem to be severely limited in the amount of imagery I can upload. I did notice that it makes a difference whether I copy and paste from Irfanview or just drag and drop from Windows Explorer. Irfanview seems to expand the image to the equivalent of a bmp for display purposes even if the file is stored on disk as a gif. Therefore, dragging and dropping from Windows Explorer produces a smaller upload if the file is stored on disk as a gif. Darrell