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Jerry Biggers

Jennifer Burns: election is referendum on Ayn Rand

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Do you have any specific examples of how life has actually gotten more complex?

I have one.

But first, for the unthinking, I agree life is a hell of a lot easier than before. I don't know about "simpler" since unthinking people merely do what they are told. And it's just as simple to do that if you are a serf in the Middle Ages as if you are on a corporate hamster wheel. Medieval serfdom is harder, but not simpler for these kinds of people.

But for thinking people, there's information overload and a galloping ease of communication. This breaks down the immediate social order by throwing the person in contact with many other ways of living than his or her family and culture. Who do you turn to when you need orientation on the important things in life and everyone has validity as authority?

And there's just too much stuff to learn to eat all the suddenly available candy in the candy-shop. If a thinking person is seeking the meaning of life and certainty, say in a midlife crisis, this can spark a deep depression. That's about as complex as anyone can imagine.

Michael

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I believe that chocolate will always be part of the solution to any and all of the problems in life.

I never met a chocolate I didn't like.

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Do you have any specific examples of how life has actually gotten more complex?

MSK's # 26 post lists some examples, like e. g. the information overload.

(btw--your internet example actually proves my point, not yours...)

But just think of how a "simple" click on the internet button can open the door to multiple complexities. For example, I recently tried to get some basic information via Wikipedia on "abiogenesis". I could not go on because my head was spinning alone from looking at this "basic" info in the long article:

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Abiogenesis

People are fond of saying how "complex" life has become, and they usually do so in a comfortably heated room with a steaming cup of coffee or brandy at their side, while wearing finely honed reading glasses, usually within 30 feet of a toilet that flushes with the mere pull of a handle, and staring into a computer that gives unlimited access to whatever information they deem interesting--all in an environment of luxury and safety that would have astounded the kings and queens of previous generations. Is this what you mean by life being "complex"? Would you prefer the simpler days of living in squalor and subject to the whim of that same king or queen referred to above?

The examples you have provided above are more about the opposition 'drudgery' in former times vs. modern 'comfort'. But beneath the surface of our comfortable everyday-living, there lies lot of complexity, and it is this complexity which mostly does not fit a binary friend-foe picture of the world anymore.

Take for example the raised awarenes of the circumstances in which people in other parts of the world have to live, and from which we might even 'profit'. If for example one buys a t-shirt which has "made in [a third word country]" on it, in all likelihood it has been been sewn together in a sweatshop, possibly even in one employing children.

I notice that you didn't address my carton of eggs example.

The first thought I had about 'carton of eggs' was 'I hope the eggs are from free-range chickens! ' :wink::smile:

A few decades agos, no one in my environment (including myself) bothered much about how domestic animals were being kept. Whereas today, one we can observe a continually rising awareness toward the well-being of animals. Here too, things are getting more complex in terms of many feeling a heightened responsibility toward those who can't help themseves. .

And who bothered about issues like "sustainability" and the global environment back then?

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Do you have any specific examples of how life has actually gotten more complex?

MSK's # 26 post lists some examples, like e. g. the information overload.

(btw--your internet example actually proves my point, not yours...)

But just think of how a "simple" click on the internet button can open the door to multiple complexities. For example, I recently tried to get some basic information via Wikipedia on "abiogenesis". I could not go on because my head was spinning alone from looking at this "basic" info in the long article:

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Abiogenesis

People are fond of saying how "complex" life has become, and they usually do so in a comfortably heated room with a steaming cup of coffee or brandy at their side, while wearing finely honed reading glasses, usually within 30 feet of a toilet that flushes with the mere pull of a handle, and staring into a computer that gives unlimited access to whatever information they deem interesting--all in an environment of luxury and safety that would have astounded the kings and queens of previous generations. Is this what you mean by life being "complex"? Would you prefer the simpler days of living in squalor and subject to the whim of that same king or queen referred to above?

The examples you have provided above are more about the opposition 'drudgery' in former times vs. modern 'comfort'. But beneath the surface of our comfortable everyday-living, there lies lot of complexity, and it is this complexity which mostly does not fit a binary friend-foe picture of the world anymore.

Take for example the raised awarenes of the circumstances in which people in other parts of the world have to live, and from which we might even 'profit'. If for example one buys a t-shirt which has "made in [a third word country]" on it, in all likelihood it has been been sewn together in a sweatshop, possibly even in one employing children.

I notice that you didn't address my carton of eggs example.

The first thought I had about 'carton of eggs' was 'I hope the eggs are from free-range chickens! ' :wink::smile:

A few decades agos, no one in my environment (including myself) bothered much about how domestic animals were being kept. Whereas today, one we can observe a continually rising awareness toward the well-being of animals. Here too, things are getting more complex in terms of many feeling a heightened responsibility toward those who can't help themseves. .

And who bothered about issues like "sustainability" and the global environment back then?

So, in other words, your wish is that I would quit beating my dead hobby horse? :laugh:

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So, in other words, your wish is that I would quit beating my dead hobby horse? :laugh:

Your hobby horse is quite alive and kicking, I think. :smile:

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J. Burns http://www.bloomberg...nd-debate-.html

"Whoever prevails in today’s election, the 2012 presidential campaign should go down as a referendum on the long conservative fascination with Ayn Rand, the controversial libertarian novelist and philosopher."

Imo the referendum was not on the long conservative fascination with Ayn Rand - those conservatives who have been fascinated for decades by Rand's advocacy of unregulated capitalism will stay fascinated by her ideas, I think.

The result of the election has merely disproved their belief that using Rand's radical ideas in a political campaign would convince the majority of voters.

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J. Burns http://www.bloomberg...nd-debate-.html

"Whoever prevails in today’s election, the 2012 presidential campaign should go down as a referendum on the long conservative fascination with Ayn Rand, the controversial libertarian novelist and philosopher."

Imo the referendum was not on the long conservative fascination with Ayn Rand - those conservatives who have been fascinated for decades by Rand's advocacy of unregulated capitalism will stay fascinated by her ideas, I think.

The result of the election has merely disproved their belief that using Rand's radical ideas in a political campaign would convince the majority of voters.

X-actly. If Burns had said "Republicans" rather than conservatives she might have been more on the mark. You have hit the crucial point, that Rand was a radical and radicals of any stripe will never attract a majority of American voters.

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