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About SaulOhio

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    Euclid, Ohio
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    RC airplanes, windsurfing, kitesurfing

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  1. I have always been a bit unsatisfied with the standard Objectivist definition of "government" as the institution that has a legal monopoly on the use of force. The use of force part is a given. There is no argument there. Everything that a government does is backed by force, and that is the one thing that distinguishes government from all other institutions. My problem has always been with the words "legal" and "monopoly". Since the government defines what is legal, including that word tends to put a circular aspect into the definition. Also, government does not have a monopoly on the use of
  2. "If tempted by something that feels "altruistic," examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!" "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity."
  3. Alan Greenspan's comments on the subject are far from a claim that the US governemnt, or Bush specifically, wanted to "plunder" mid-east oil. On the contrary, it seemed to be a move to protect the oil from being plundered by Hussein. He had already torched the Kuwait oil fields. Greenspan hints that Hussein had intentions to control more oil resources, that he was the one who had some intention to do the plundering.
  4. In "The Forbidden Planet" (1956), the ancient race names the Krell were quite benevolent, until they got wiped out by their own invention and their suppressed savage instincts. "My Favorite Martian" (1963 TV series), had a man from Mars who was quite friendly.
  5. Rand didn't make up that definition. She was using the definition used by philosophers before her. The biological definition is relatively new, and does not apply to discussions of human ethics.
  6. Bob_Mac: You are mistaken to assume I have little knowledge of evolutionary science. That was, in fact, my major in college. I do not deny that evolution may have programmed us with tendencies towards certain behaviors, but as I said, we cannot trust them. They are relics of our savage past, as Michael said. We need to examine our behavior rationally, and root out anything that is out of date, counterproductive, even destructive. Most examples of altruism I am familiar with, it is used as an excuse to perpetrate attrocities, justify government policies that have proven impractical (not only i
  7. Hey! You want to ruin a perfectly good rant with facts??? Yes, put in perspective, you are right. Unless I sell, its not a loss. I just have to hold on till the market recovers, which it always does. In fact, a down market is a buying opportunity. It just hurts to see the numbers go down. However, I just checked my 401-k, and found that the numbers in that account went UP almost 400 dollars. Yes, I am diversified, and the energy, natural resources, and gold funds in my account went up. :logik: Like I said, don't you hate when facts ruin an otherwise perfectly good rant?
  8. And if there IS some evolutionarily programmed altruistic behavior in humans, that doesn't mean thats how we SHOULD act. One basic principle of evolutionary biology is that it is the environment that determines which inherited traits will promote an organism's survival. As the environment changes, so must the organism, in order to survive. We need to figure out on our own what kinds of behaviors will promote survival. And none of what I have seen has convinced me that we have any genetically programmed predisposition to certain kinds of behaviors. That we do act in a certain way, or that cert
  9. The topic says it all, but I'll keep ranting. This seems to happen every time the Federal Reserve has a meeting, but especially when the chairman, wether it was Greenspan or Bernanke, mentions the I-word. I know I don't have to mention, on an Objectivist forum, that this is exactly what you should expect in an economy with fiat currency and central banking, and especially when that central bank is run on a theory of inflation that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real inflation and a general rise in prices caused by natural market forces. But this particular forum is for rant
  10. The fact that some pleasure center of the brain is stimulated when someone does something nice for another person is not itself proof that altruism is hardwired into us. There are other explanation of why acting in such ways causes us pleasure. It may be that the test subject is philosophically convinced that altruism is a moral ideal, so they feal pleasure in knowing they acted in a way they believe to be moral. Or, they understand the selfish basis of benevolence, and their pleasure comes from acting morally by THAT standard. Or the simplest explanation is that what is hardwired into us is n
  11. My first reaction was "Teaching philosophy to 4 year-olds? Sounds more like indoctrination. Then I got to this part: THATS the right approach. That is THE most important question to ask EVER. If you get children into the habbit of asking that from an early age, you can't go wrong.
  12. The act of delegating is a contractual act. Rand was not clear on when a person was supposed to perform such delegation (enter such a contract). This is a crack in the principle that needs to be patched up. Michael I agree there is a problem with Rand's statement here. When in an emergency situation we cannot wait for the police to arrive to defend us. Almost any time we are confronted by a criminal, we have only our own resources to rely on. She should have said something more along the lines of we delegate our right to the retaliatory use of force. That seems to me to be clearly what she m
  13. OK. Vegetarians herd. Predators run in packs. I'm an omnivore. What do we do? Besides eat everything, wether it moves or not? Excuse me. I'm getting hungry. Have to go eat.
  14. What you are saying seems to imply some version of evolutionary psychology. But that means that such behavior evolved because it has certain benefits. We evolved the tendency to herd because of exchange value. Chicken, egg?
  15. I have rethought my position on this subject, and am backing away from the idea of conceding that social contract theory is true. I've read up on the theory some more, and have found more fallacies behind it, one of them being a strawman argument against natural rights. The theory is a castle in the sky built out of a grain of sand. But the grain of sand is there, and real. There is one fact of reality that makes social contract theory sound plausible, and that is that we derive benefits from living in a society. The rest of the conceptual edifice of the theory is smoke and mirrors, but this f