Free Capitalist

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  1. The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics

    Wait, Shoshana Knapp or Shoshana Milgram?
  2. Moral Flaws in Rand's Fictional Heroes

    Not until Francisco. But the fact that he did not identify it does not indicate that he evaded identifying it. Rearden was kind of lost between two contradictory premises, and being a consummately honest person, he attempted to live up to both even then. That may be an example of a lack of understanding, but it is also as much a show of virtue as there ever can be. I mean just think about the incredible degree of Rearden's commitment to honesty, no matter what -- that's quite admirable.
  3. Profiting from racism/discrimination

    He may have believed in the full degree of blacks' natural capacity for reason, and felt disgust at their culture and thus at the thought that they and their culture might adversely affect the culture that did show enlightenment and advancement. The point is, I don't know if that's in fact what he did think, but if we refuse to give Jefferson any benefit of the doubt, then we will never bother to find out. And he needs that benefit of the doubt as much as any of the Founding Fathers right now, and perhaps because of all the contempt recently heaped on him from all quarters in our culture, even more so than the rest.
  4. Amse, This whole discussion is in the context of you studying subjects, and you requesting further materials to study. You say something like, "I have studied subjects X, Y, and Z", and want to read more challenging writings on the subject; it is in this context that you have mentioned Ancient Greece, i.e.: However, when specifying the level of your involvement in that study, you said that you were reading for flavor, and that the entire study took you two weeks! Even if I might object that any such in-depth study requires a considerable study of the history of the period (a subject that gets only a passing attention in your list of books), there are other objections to be raised. Another very important one is what Burgess alluded to, namely that even if the more important books are omitted, the actual books that are on your list themselves require a lot more attention if what you aim for is a study of Ancient Greece, rather than a passing glance, or cursory knowledge.When asked in this thread whether your entire study of Objectivism, Locke, et al., was just a cursory examination that deserved a more in-depth study, you explicitly clarified that no, no, your understanding of each subject was profound and fundamental. However, if your study of other subjects has been anything at all like your study of Ancient Greece, then some of the concerns raised by others in this thread might have been right after all. Plato himself deserves a lot more than a couple of weeks. Same for the dramatists and pretty much everything else on your list. If you have read Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, I would love to see your input in these two threads: one on religion and morality, and the other on Greek mythology. To study Ancient Greek science, more than just Hippocrates is required. To study Ancient Greek philosophy, more than just Plato is required. To study Ancient Greek literature, more than just Herodotus is required. Assuming that that author was also for your study of Ancient Greek history, there too more is required. So on every parameter you listed as your goal of study in Ancient Greece, namely philosophy, fine art, science, and history, a lot more reading is required than what you have had on your list. This is not to say that I'm unhappy with you reading all of those things -- quite the contrary, if you know my history of posting, I love it when people say they've read works of Classical civilization. However, you have said you studied Ancient Greece, and used it as just one example of how you study (all) other subjects. All this is the reason why I asked you to be more specific about the study of that one subject. Now I can say with some certainty that the concerns raised by members in this thread are at least in part justified. No one here (least of all me) wants to discourage you (at all!), but it should be clear that this reading is for flavor, and actually does not qualify as a study.
  5. Amse, please don't mistake my comments for carping needlessly, but I do feel the need to point out something you said in your post. The word that I have singled out in bold makes all the difference here. Please take what I say in the most positive way possible, but if your study of subjects is anything like your study of Ancient Greece, then what you've been doing is not "learning what has been already said and done".There's a very big difference between studying a subject, and becoming a consummate expert in it, and I am in no way advocating that you do the latter for all of the subjects you've shown interest in. To follow that suggestion would be impossible and unnecessary on your part, and to suggest it would be ridiculous on mine. But what I am advocating, if what you want to really learn what has been said and done, is do a lot more than just read a few books in the subject for flavor, and then consider your task in that area complete. Therefore, when you say that you "want more" books to read and to advance your knowledge of things, I respond with a counter suggestion -- read some new books to keep interest, and also study the old ones, rather than read them for flavor. In the area of Ancient Greece, if you really want to be able to say that you've "studied" Ancient Greece (but still don't want to devote the time required to be an actual expert on the subject), then what you will need to pay the dialogues of Plato a lot more attention; you will also need to read a lot of Aristotle, as in many ways he is a culmination of Greek natural science, Greek philosophy, and Greek philosophy of literature and aesthetics. But most important of all, you will need to read and know the history of Classical Greece, which means Herodotus, Thucydides, and Diodorus Siculus who all cover the Classical Period of Greece in neat succession from 500BC to the time of Alexander the Great (323BC). You can also read the history of Alexander by Quintus Curtius, for flavor () about the period, and its a wonderful portrait more focused on moral rather than military matters. If you read these things, then by next Spring you can say that you have studied Ancient Greece. The same follows for all other subjects: if what you want is epistemology, then read the book on logic referenced above, together with Aristotle's Posterior Analytics (I think), and also most importantly, with a thorough (rather than flavor-oriented) reading of Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and the relevant chapters from Dr. Peikoff's OPAR. The place to start then, is rather than asking what more you can read because you're bored, to say what areas interest you a lot, and to ask what the fundamental and crucial books are on the subject. These books may be some new ones for you to read, and some of the old ones for you to go over and study in greater detail. I hope you view my suggestion in as much of a positive way as how I intend it
  6. Let me also add, on the subject of Aristotle, that the Nicomachean Ethics is not just a list of virtues. Out of eight 'books' of the Ethics, only two and a half are devoted to outlining and discussing the virtues; what is left for the remaining five and a half books? As for the subject of civilizations, people sometimes have a somewhat unrealistic (and rather idealized) view of Ancient Greece, if they omit the study of Greek history. By studying both the history of Greece and of the Roman Republic, a lot more 'roads' will 'lead to Rome' than may become obvious if one only knows the names like Aristotle and Homer. But anyhow, I hope we don't get off-track in this thread too much. Amse you said that: Burgess and I actually had an interesting discussion about the role of CPL, found here. I argued for a less one-track minded ideal, and for a more well-rounded education, where CPL is just one, albeit important, part of a bigger picture.
  7. Just to see what you mean (and also to further understand your modus operandi), could you please specify the primary source materials you've read on the subject? And, broadly speaking, how long did it take you to complete your study of Ancient Greece?
  8. Amse, you said you have read Von Mises, Locke, etc, and now you want something more. I must mirror the concerns expressed by others, and wonder if you are reading for breadth, not for depth. The point is not to read something, i.e. to scan your eyes over it and say you've read it, but to truly understand it, integrate it, and make it your own; some members of this forum, for example, have said that they take over a day to read one page of a particularly deep book. What I am suggesting, therefore, is that you pick one area that interests you, read and truly understand the various books that have been written on it throughout history, and then engage in discussions with others to jog your understanding and test your comprehension. After first reading Atlas Shrugged and then the rest of Ayn Rand's works, I felt that I have learned everything there was to learn in philosophy, or in anything else (such was her talent). It took encountering other students of Objectivism, posing questions, attempting to answer the questions of others, for me to I realize that I actually understood far less than I thought. All this is why I recommend you raise some issues on this forum, or reply to issues raised by others, and test your understanding. Betsy Speicher has a number of Ethical Dilemmas in the Ethics subforum, and they may be an great place for you to start. I personally would be interested in your responses.
  9. I am not sure how you made that leap, from anything said in this thread, especially when I explicitly noted that to study something is not equivalent to attempt to become an expert at it. The latter course is rarely necessary, unless for one's CPL (as defined by Burgess), but the former course is usually necessary for all or most important subjects in life. So just because it may be a good idea to go over some philosophical works in detail and absorb them on a deep level, it does not automatically follow that you should be a philosopher. Philosophers do things like study intricate differences between many major philosophies throughout history, and know by name all of the major issues and problems/conflicts in history of philosophy. Although that's not all they do, that is a part of what philosophers do, and personally while I am confident about my understanding of philosophy, I find the tasks of a professional philosopher rather daunting, and prefer to leave them to someone else.So remember, I specifically outlined that there's a difference between simply studying something on a deep level, and attempting to become a full expert on it. No need to jump from flavor-oriented reading to attempting to become a full-fledged philosopher yourself (unless it is your CPL, and thus comes in conflict with your intention of being a lawyer).
  10. John Stuart Mill

    Amse, what Stephen just underlined is precisely the reason I asked you earlier about pleasure and happiness; the two are profoundly not interchangeable, and what Mill defining as his terms shows it to very clearly to be hedonism. In other words, Mill did not define pleasure in some "enlightened" way where some higher values are involved, which could have been possible if he simply used a wrong word but meant "happiness" instead. He defined pleasure in the most base way possible -- a sort of animalistic pursuit of positive sensation and avoidance of negative sensation. There's nothing vague about what he means there.
  11. John Stuart Mill

    Why do you take the two to be synonimous?
  12. Take a look at this amazing picture, drawn by an autistic artist after a single helicopter flight over London: Autistic people are sometimes known to have unlocked very powerful mental capacities in other areas of brain activity (think Rain Man). What more could be locked away in our own minds? And what's more important, where is it coming from? Why don't we have these powers now? Laziness and unwillingness to train?
  13. Great poems by the masters

    One of my most favorite poems is "Lochinvar", by Sir Walter Scott. I first heard about it from the 1942 movie, You'll Never Be Lovelier, starring Rita Hayworth, my most favorite actress of all time (). In the movie she played this gorgeous and extremely self-confident woman who rejected all suitors that tried to approach her. The reason for that is because in her youth, at the age of 15, she had read a poem about a man, and she set out to find the kind of man described in her poem; no one else was simply good enough. The knight's name was Lochinvar, and the poem she had read was the one under the same title, written by Sir Walter Scott. I was so impressed by (and in love with) her character that I had to find the poem and understand what it was she was looking for. Lochinvar O young Lochinvar is come out of the west, Through all the wide Border his steed was the best; And save his good broadsword he weapons had none, He rode all unarm'd, and he rode all alone. So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar. He stayd not for brake, and he stopp'd not for stone, He swam the Eske river where ford there was none; But ere he alighted at Netherby gate, The bride had consented, the gallant came late: For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war, Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar. So boldly he enter'd the Netherby Hall, Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all: Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword, (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,) "O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?" "I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied; -- Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide -- And now I am come, with this lost love of mine, To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine. There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far, That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar." The bride kiss'd the goblet: the knight took it up, He quaff'd off the wine, and he threw down the cup. She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh, With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye. He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar, -- "Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar. So stately his form, and so lovely her face, That never a hall such a gailiard did grace; While her mother did fret, and her father did fume And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume; And the bride-maidens whisper'd, "'twere better by far To have match'd our fair cousin with young Lochinvar." One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear, When they reach'd the hall-door, and the charger stood near; So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung! "She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur; They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar. There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan; Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran: There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee, But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see. So daring in love, and so dauntless in war, Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar? - Sir Walter Scott
  14. Neo-classical Art

    Cometmaker, in this thread, wrote that in his judgment there were two masculine trends in European art: By Neo-Classical art, we mean the period in 18th century Europe and America, which strongly emphasized again Classical values in art, and depicted favorite men in Classical colors. Examples are paintings which, frequently on moral themes, paint their subjects in highly contrasted, strongly lit and darkly shadowed colors, to emphasize the moral judgment of things: Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David Oath of the Horatii, ibid the Washington in Toga: Even the Statue of Liberty, which derives directly from the Colossus of Rhodes and the Colossus of the Sun: I wanted to ask what in this led to self-strangulation.
  15. Happy Birthday to Free Capitalist

    Thanks guys!, I've just been so busy lately.
  16. This image speaks for itself:ℑ=large
  17. Obama the socialist

    Bill, I have an excellent addition to your link. Doesn't Obama really strike one as strongly for the "middle-ground", the quintessential centrist, vague and fuzzy-feely "community organizer? The question may arise, whether there is something more concrete to this designation:
  18. Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

    Look, I don't even know why we're talking about this. The TOC controversy is settled, and they lost. You cannot make a distinction between a person calling himself an Objectivist, and between representing that philosophy. Lots of people are influenced by all sorts of philosophies, and that doesn't make them "-ists" of that philosophy. The "-ist" is a designation, a description, for a person who accepts the philosophy completely. Then, when you make a philosophical statement you are implicitly adding that this statement is completely consistent with the "-ist" you are trying to be. Now I don't know Bidinotto personally, but the TOC group in general likes to call themselves Objectivists, but refuse to accept any kind of consistency with it, or within it. They just take pieces they really like, and not pay so much attention to those that they don't. That is fine if they call themselves simply intellectuals, but if they call themselves Objectivist intellectuals that is dishonesty.
  19. Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

    I.e. an Intellectual who advocates Ayn Rand's ideas.
  20. Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

    When you claim that you're an Objectivist intellectual, you claim to represent Ayn Rand's ideas.
  21. Robert Bidinotto Endorsed McCain/Palin

    The question is whether he's an Objectivist intellectual, in that he understands and accepts Ayn Rand's philosophy. That is what's being challenged here. No one doubts that he's an intellectual, perhaps influenced by AR as have been many people throughout the last 50 years without it making them Objectivists or any kind of spokesmen for the philosophy.
  22. Sarah Palin selected by McCain for VP slot

    Newsweek has an interesting article on rumors about Palin's stances: A detailed analysis these points follows at the link above.
  23. The atheist horror file

    Since there exists plenty of evidence of religious people doing wrong, I thought I'd start the opposite with a collection of atheists making horrific errors. Here is a wonderful example from Richard Dawkins, a self-appointed champion of atheism and of discarding of religion (even traditional and non-evangelical). Dawkins, on his forum, was asked to clarify rumors of being a vegetarian on moral grounds, and of granting rights to animals. Here was a perfect opportunity to clear misconceptions and to declare to the world that, though an atheist, he upheld man's exalted stature and recognized his unique nature (since after all, biology is his profession). Dawkins' response went quite the other way, however: If a leading "new atheist" can say that "If cows and pigs knew they were about to be slaughtered, and feared it, I think that would be morally wrong", it begs the question: how much does he even understand morality at all??
  24. McCain's Altruist Conversion

    By the way, "Kuffar" is the Muslim word for infidel, so unless John McCain has suddenly turned to Islam the very title of the blog is yet one more example of making a trade of candidates' flaws, and of enlarging or adding exaggerations whenever possible.
  25. McCain's Altruist Conversion

    One of the larger overall problems is this mindset of "Let me just sit on the sidelines and take sniping shots at both sides". Our job is to decide the better candidate, so unless both candidates are rationally just simply stomach-churningly unacceptable, this task is not helped when we are pointed out that both candidates have flaws, and that the only flawless person was the guy pointing such things out.