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Posts posted by MisterSwig

  1. Our new episode is an interview with Richard Ebeling, the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel military college. We discuss how he was introduced to Objectivism, his role in discovering the lost works of Ludwig von Mises, and his new article on Marxo-Nazism. Check it out!


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  2. On 10/10/2021 at 10:38 AM, ThatGuy said:

    Stolyarov...the guy who used to used weird spellings like "filosphy" instead of "philosophy"?

    That's how it probably would have been spelled had it not come from a Greek root word. Personally I appreciate the variety of English spellings for the same sound. But as long as I understand you, I don't care very much how you spell a word, unless you intentionally scramble the letters, which is annoying and a waste of my time when you bust my crow with such silliness. It takes extra time for me to unscramble longer words.   

  3. I started this podcast (my first one) with Lev a couple years ago. We had known each other from years of forum discussions online, and we both were interested in starting a podcast. Initially it had more of a debate format focused on areas with potential disagreements. But then we started recording our Skype calls, and the show turned into more of a general but informed dialogue on topics of mutual interest. We both come from the Objectivist world, but we discuss whatever subjects pique our interests. Our 33rd episode is about rhetoric and persuasion. I thought it might interest some people here, since we've recently been discussing how to spread Rand's ideas more effectively. Check it out and please subscribe, thanks!

    By the way, I subscribe to any Objectivist I find on YouTube. So let me know if you have a channel there.


  4. Our new episode is an interview with Gennady Stolyarov II, a longtime fan of Rand who is now the chairman of the Transhumanist Party, a political group that supports policies favoring life extension research and technology, with the goal of eliminating the problems of aging and death so people can live healthy, immortal lives. Check it out!


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  5. On 10/4/2021 at 4:14 PM, anthony said:

    I think it's not as much "the truth" that is apparent when first approaching Rand's (esp.) non-fiction works, that smacks of effortless, intrinsic, "revealed" knowledge (a sometime mistake of Objectivists), it is that - here is MY means to finding and recognizing and gathering the truth, alone.

    That is a kind of truth, though. It's truth about the correct method for discovering the truth.

  6. On 10/4/2021 at 1:00 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    It starts with a video of a guy I was not familiar with (Mattias Desmet) and I cannot recommend this video highly enough.

    Yeah, I've been following him too, after a FB friend recommended him. It's a good sign that he makes the connection between determinism and collectivism.

  7. In our latest episode we have a chat/debate with Facebook friend Dave Goodman, who has been an Objectivist for fourteen years and wanted to come on the show to defend Yaron Brook from some of our criticisms. We also discuss some ideas on the religious right versus the secular left, and working with non-Objectivists like Dennis Prager. Check it out!


  8. On 9/29/2021 at 3:24 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    The problem is not external. It's mostly internal--meaning the ability of the ideas as currently presented to satisfy what humans long for.

    I generally agree with this basic view, though I do think we face important, external factors such as cultural movements devoted to subjectivity, faith, socialism, etc. Not only do we need better arguments, we also need better minds that can grasp the arguments in the first place. When a genius discovers some brilliant philosophical insight, only a moron would expect the rest of society to grasp it. If it were that easy to grasp, it wouldn't have required a genius to develop it in the first place. So this is where character comes into play. The geniuses who grasp the new knowledge need to become trustworthy authority figures in order to gain the good will and attention of those who are sympathetic but who might lack the ability to fully grasp the new knowledge and apply it independently for themselves.

    On 9/29/2021 at 3:24 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    For example, it's easy to say dogmatic leaders have spoiled the Objectivist movement. But did they? Not really. Dogmatic people are everywhere and in highly successful movements. I certainly don't see dogmatism impeding the spread of Marxism.

    The movement is much larger than a few dogmatic leaders. But where the dogmatists reign, those are the foulest groups within the movement.

    On 9/29/2021 at 3:24 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    The misidentification I see is selling an Objectivist movement as a savior of mankind movement.

    Yes, I'm beginning to see this as well. I think ARI, in particular, has suffered from a messiah complex. They lost their focus on spreading Rand's philosophy, and they misintegrated their mission with a desire to prevent the impending collapse of Western civilization. This has created an unhealthy obsession with maintaining the purity of the philosophy by not associating with perceived corrupters and posers of Objectivism, because only Objectivism could save us. But perhaps even more damaging to the movement, this complex drove the leaders of ARI to concoct fantastic strategies for rescuing the culture, such as a twenty-year plan to place Objectivist intellectuals into Academia, a plan which ARI basically rejects now.

  9. On 9/24/2021 at 11:33 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    I watched it and it was a very good interview.

    Thank you!

    On 9/24/2021 at 11:33 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    The break came when we disagreed over Trump during the 2016 election.

    I haven't researched his stance on Trump. Admittedly I was most interested in his fiction writing, as we share a love for vigilante stories. Incidentally I was also not liking Trump in 2016 and it took me another year or two to realize that the Democrats were worse. I sensed it with the Russia hoax, and then the impeachment insanity absolutely settled it. So I have some sympathy for people who've gone full TDS, though I was never so bad that I blocked people online over it. I've always enjoyed arguing too much. Plus, good opponents can help me see my errors or help me hone my reasoning.

    On 9/24/2021 at 11:33 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    The article was entitled "The Abominable Dr. Paul" and was written by Stephen Green.

    Yes, that is an odd cover for an intellectual magazine.

    On 9/24/2021 at 11:33 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    I think he felt too humiliated to try to find another place within the Objectivist subcommunity, so he went after an old dream and wrote his first action novel.

    What do you make of his position that there shouldn't be an organized Objectivist movement because such organizations inevitably lead to dogmatism centered around gurus? He says that TAS was originally more like an open forum but it too succumbed to dogmatism. See his blog post "Am I Still An Objectivist?" This is from his response to a reader named Mel in the comments section:


    During the time I became involved with a specific Objectivist organization, it was set up to function not as a dogmatic orthodoxy, but as an open forum for discussion of ideas related to Rand's philosophy. That was true at its conferences and within its publications. My departure from that group was due, in part, to its eventual, growing ambivalence about that "forum" structure -- for example, heated battles with me over the philosophic content of its magazine, which I edited.

    I came gradually to conclude that, regardless of the initial "tolerant" intentions of those who found them, organizations based on a specific philosophy almost invariably degenerate into dogmatic orthodoxies. That's because, over time, some "authority" figure(s) or faction ultimately feels it must interpret and decide the public meaning and identity of that philosophy, and then impose it on the group as a whole, in order to protect the group's own public image and identity.

    ... groups trying to espouse an entire philosophy inevitably require interpreters of that philosophy -- which means some guru/authority figure(s) -- which means the group will become an anti-individualist orthodoxy that is policed by constant purges of dissenters, demands of loyalty and conformity, and internal factionalism as people struggle to impose their own interpretations on everyone else.


  10. Robert Bidinotto stopped by our podcast to discuss his history in journalism and the organized Objectivist movement, which he left several years ago. Those subjects occupy the first part of the episode, then at 52:00 we delve into his career as a thriller novelist, his Dylan Hunter vigilante stories, and his thoughts on justice and the death penalty. Check it out!


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  11. This is my favorite non-interview episode so far because it deals with an important difference between Objectivists.

    Objectivism, Open or Closed?

    Scott and I have a small debate over the issue of open versus closed Objectivism. Everyone seems to agree that "open" and "closed" are metaphors which need literal explanations. I propose that "open" refers to Objectivism as a common noun, i.e., a class of Objectivist philosophies; while "closed" refers to Objectivism as a proper noun, i.e., the specific philosophy of Ayn Rand. Take a listen!


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  12. We have a new interview of Richard Salsman, discussing his long history in the Objectivist movement, working with ARI, TOS, and now TAS, and his views on the various schisms involving these groups. We also talk about his new book, Where Have All the Capitalists Gone? Check it out!


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  13. In our new episode Scott and I take a critical look at Yaron Brook's debate performances and Craig Biddle's dialogue with Dennis Prager. We discuss their different styles and approaches to outreach and debating. Thanks in advance for listening. Enjoy!


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  14. Thanks, Michael. I like jigsaw puzzles and do them occasionally with my girlfriend. Recently I took up chess and play online at Chess.com. I also play Words With Friends (Scrabble) via Facebook. Someone wants me to learn Backgammon but there's only so much time I can spend playing games.

  15. On 7/14/2021 at 12:18 PM, ThatGuy said:

    Apparently, this part of the movie was based on a true story, although with a female doll, not a male head...(@10:41, already cue'd up...)

    Those were some thoughtful friends who gave him a female doll. By the end of the voyage I'm sure it was his wife and she had ten children already.

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  16. We have another interview up, this time we spoke to Mark Pellegrino about his acting in Hollywood (Lost, Supernatural) and dealing with the woke left. He agrees that the left is a bigger threat than the right but we couldn't convince him to side with the right. Check it out! Thanks.


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  17. On 6/28/2021 at 12:15 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

    I disagree with a few things I heard but I don't want to list them right now.

    I hope you list them or PM me about them eventually, especially if they relate to something I said. One reason I post on forums is to hear the disagreements, and sometimes a critic has evidence that changes my mind.

  18. On 6/16/2021 at 5:41 PM, Aldo Espejo said:

    If someone read it, maybe we can discuss some of his ideas, but for the sake of the discusion, i do think the book fall short in the realms of analysis and the extension.

    Hi Aldo,

    I read the book as prep for the recent interview. I'd be happy to discuss it. Where do you think the analysis falls short? Keep in mind that it was written some time ago. Do you have the expanded edition?

  19. 21 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

    This conversation/debate, in a nutshell, sounds like a question of teleology, and the is/oughts that arise around that....seems like it's asking the question, what is primary, the species or the individual, regarding "who sets the goals?"

    Once we achieve volition, the individual sets his own goals, though often under social pressure from family or society. There is the context of being part of a species, so that should guide the goal-setting and seeking. For example, I could try to reproduce by ejaculating into a pot of soil and watering it each day, but of course that's not going to work. I need to align my goal with the nature of my species and find a fertile woman. So, if I understand your question, I'd say an adult individual is primary in terms of goal-setting, because the species is not actually a thing that sets goals, not like a political group that votes on goals for the group.

    Prior to gaining volition, a baby pursues goals automatically or involuntarily. So we could say that nature sets the goal of living for a new, living organism. But really that's simply the nature of a living organism. And once we develop volition, we are then confronted with the choice of continuing to be a living organism or dying.

  20. 18 hours ago, tmj said:

    I'm still stuck on universal/objective , species/individual dichotomies and how these are identified and applied in this discussion.

    So, the way I'm using them, "universal" and "objective" are not dichotomous. A universal value (for example, air) is also an objective value. It's universal because it's of value to every single human being (indeed every single living organism that needs air to function). And it's objective because the value has a beneficial relationship to the object which is a particular human being. "Universal" describes the value's relation to a whole class of valuers. "Objective" describes the value's relation to a particular valuer. So while all universal values must also be objective, not all objective values are universal. Let's say you're allergic to peanuts but I'm not. Peanuts are an objective value to me, but an objective disvalue to you, thus they can't be of universal value to the human species.

    As for "species" and "individual," these are nouns that refer to the same things from different perspectives. In our case they refer to human beings. Each human is an individual because he's "not divisible." He can't be separated into multiple humans. And a human is also part of a species, because he's the offspring of an interbreeding pair of individuals, thus he is born into a biological group of individuals capable of interbreeding with each other. I suppose the "species-individual" problem is dichotomous in the sense that a single individual isn't also a group of individuals. So an individual is not literally a species. But to have a species requires having individuals that interbreed. And since "species" refers to these interbreeding individuals as a group, I don't see an actual species-individual dichotomy. "Species" identifies a real similarity among particular individuals: their capacity to interbreed when sexually mature and fertile.