• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About SteveH

  • Rank
  • Birthday 06/04/1965

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • Yahoo steve_hathway2000

Profile Information

  • Gender Male
  • Location Green Bay, WI
  1. As with any group, there are the fanatics. I have also come to the conclusion that these people are the ones most likely to fall off the wagon. The recovering addicts that impress me the most are those that are serene and quiet about their recovery. Also, I did not start this thread to defend AA or any 12-Step program. I am just curious how an Objectivist program for addiction might look. I started with the 12-Steps, but perhaps that is the wrong place. I will definitely look up Dr. Schaler's book. You gave me exactly what I was looking for - alternative sources.
  2. The 12-Steps seem to be a foundation for any addiction program. Unfortunately, they incorporate "God" or a "higher power". I have been interested in analyzing these Steps for a couple of reasons. First, my mother is an alcoholic and she has used AA to stay sober for a number of years. Second, I heard or read Ayn Rand discuss the Serenity Prayer. She agreed with the premise of the prayer but objected to the reference to God. That got me interested in pulling apart the 12-Steps and seeing what was worthwhile and what was worthless. Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over <insert favorite addiction> - that our lives had become unmanageable. - I don't like the 'we'. I don't like the powerless. But in essence, I believe this has merit. I believe this is a recognition that some aspect of your life is irrational. But how would you formulate this in an Objective manner? I believe that you do have power to change the behavior. Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. - I believe you can restore yourself to sanity, but what would you use to replace "power greater than me"? Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. - I believe the essence of this Step is making a conscience decision to change. But do you turn your life over to God? No. What are you turning your life over to? Logic? Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. - I can't find any fault with this. I believe it is just another phrasing of Judge and prepare to be judged. Objectivism teaches that you should always evaluate yourself. Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. - Apart from the God statement, this seems pretty good too. To me it is an exercise in honesty, a natural extension of Step 4. While it may not be essential, I think it could have benefits. Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. - Too mystical in formulation, but again there has to be a personal commitment to change behavior. Step 7 - Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. - Worthless. Can anyone else see merit in this? Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. - In the case of addiction, I think this is very important. Again, I see it as an exercise in honesty. Admit that you tried to fake reality and take responsibility for your error. Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. - same comment as Step 8 Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. - very worthwhile. same comment as Step 4 Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. - again too mystical. But there is an element of concentration. If this were reformulated to say something like "concentrate on reality and act accordingly" it would seem worthwhile. Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. - Too mystical in its phrasing. Perhaps "Having come to conscientious awareness of reality, I have decided to practice these principles in all my affairs." I don't like that formulation either. It seems the idea is to carry out the principles of Objectivism in all your affairs. I just wanted to get a discussion on this topic and see what others thought.
  3. Fox Valley Objectivists Club

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that the club web site also has a page where you can contact us if you have any questions.
  4. I would like to let everyone know that Steve Hathway, Ryan Winkel and Rodney Schroeter have started an Objectivist club in the Fox Valley (NE Wisconsin). We meet on the first Thurs of each month at the Daily Buzz in downtown Green Bay (though there is discussion of moving the meetings to Appleton). Please visit our web site at for more information. We use this site to communicate meeting topics, provide driving directions and general advertisement. If you are in the area and interested in meeting other Objectivists face-to-face, we would love to see you at the next meeting.
  5. Sad photo

    I had the pleasure of working with Larry S who left Bell Labs to form his own company in 1993. Larry worked on the first Cellular phone network in Chicago around 1986 (don't quote me on the date) and told some terrific stories about those early days. Interestingly, my first job was in Peoria, IL in the late 1980's. My position required that have a 'car phone' - which used that same cell phone network Larry had installed and optimized. I joined the company he formed, TEC Cellular, in 1995. They had created a program for predicting the cell phone coverage of a group of towers. It was not Nobel-caliber work, but it had some innovations that no one could match for about 5 years. First, it ran on a desktop computer. RF Planning tools at the time relied on UNIX-based computers, limiting their use for day-to-day engineering. Second, the program had a little application that managed the combination of prediction grids. The competitor's tools forced users to run coverage prediction in a step-wise process (predict the path loss of each tower, then determine the signal level on the ground based on the antenna pattern, then combine a set of individual predictions to determine the actual coverage for a combination of towers). The app within Wizard managed this for the engineer so all he had to do was select the towers to be included and wait for the results. This is now standard in the industry, but at the time, it was like magic (hence the product name - Wizard) The product is still on the market - Wizard RF Planning Tool. I enjoyed Larry's work ethic. He also brought a practical sensibility to designing cellular networks and programming.
  6. Query re speed of light

    This reminded me of my college Physics lab. One experiment required that we measure the speed the of light. We split a laser beam sending one on a longer path. After working on the set up all morning, we found that we could not get a sufficiently long path by bouncing the beam around the room. So, we bounced it out the lab door and down the hallway and back. But at that point we found the return beam was too dim to see. Me and my lab partner decided to come back after dark and complete the experiment. Not only would we be able to see the return beam, but we would be the only ones in the building so the hallway would be clear of any interferences. That night, we set-up the mirror down the hall. We turned on the laser and sure enough the return beam could be seen. We were finally ready. Breaking out our lab book and sharing some stories took our attention away from the experiment for about 10 min. In that time the return beam disappeared, somehow. We checked all the mirrors in the lab to make sure we hadn't displaced them. Finally, we looked down the hall to check that mirror - and that's when we saw the problem. The elderly cleaning lady was walking down the hall - oblivious to the red dot on her back.
  7. A comparison of Objectivism v Altruism

    Arnold, That is exactly why I do this! I do it for me. Thanks for reminding me. There are times when I get wrapped up in an argument. I get frustrated that the other person can not see what I am trying to say. But then I step back. This is not for me to convince them of anything. It is for me to understand how to write and express my beliefs. Now I must admit, I do enjoy sharing it with people on this forum and getting feedback. But that is not the primary.
  8. Feel free to move this. I am posting it here because I treat the actions that led to this as recreational. Every so often I visit forums where people have a differing point of view. Occasionally, I am compelled to enter the fray and post my own thoughts on a topic. I enjoy it for the fact that I get many opposing views thrown at me which I then attempt to refute. Eventually, I come to a point where I try to summarize my counter arguments. It is great exercise when it comes out well. Today, I produced something I felt came out well. Rather than toss pearls before swine, I decided to share with this audience. The original post with all comments can be found here, if you are interested. Here is my summary: "Fundamentally, we come from two different points of view. Your view is that man is inadequate for living on his own. His survival requires the aid of others. We are all flawed, to say it another way, and these flaws ultimately lead to the individual suffering a hardship of one kind or another. A variation of the same theme is to say that there are evil and powerful people out there in society that are just itching to stick it to the less fortunate or weak. You would prefer to eliminate these hardships or focus on limiting them to the greatest extent possible. That is your morality, in a nutshell. This view leads to a focus on the suffering of others. Your personal worth is based on how much suffering you have eliminated. A society’s worth is based on how well it takes care of the weak and disadvantaged. I make this claim because nearly every argument against my statements has involved hardship. “You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” “Here is an article on how much the poor have to pay for a loaf of bread.” “I know someone who had difficulty getting a loan.” Your focus is on hardship and how to manage it. I do not deny these things happen. I simply don’t make them the primary focus of my existence. From your worldview, you extrapolate that we all need to help each other. Either we prop each other up to compensate for the weaknesses in others. Or if you believe in the nasty worldview, we need to ban together to protect each other from the bad folks that exist in society. What better way than to get a large organization, like the government, to mandate what should and should not be allowed. Your rationalization is that if we all agree (or a majority of us agree) it must be the correct thing to do. This is the definition of a pure democracy and it was explicitly rejected by the Founding Fathers in the Federalist Papers. My worldview is that man, the individual, is heroic. No matter what their station in life, an individual can make a good life for himself. This is not to say that everyone can be as successful as Bill Gates. They can not because not everyone has that kind of drive or ability. But I do demand that each person view their existence on this earth as a progression upward. Sure there will be set-backs, but that is not the focus. The focus is on ever greater personal achievement. I do not fault or lecture those who tried and failed. I do fault those who do not try. The particular circumstances one finds themselves in when I meet them does not tell me whether or not they have tried (i.e. I don’t look down my nose at a bum on the street and assume it is his fault). Practicing my worldview does not require super-human intelligence or extraordinary ability. Some may practice it and rise to the position of shop foreman. Others may apply it and become company president. Both are admirable to me, if the person is applying himself to achieve a greater and greater level of competence and ability. Your worldview chokes this ambition by adding greater and greater responsibility for others to those who manage to excel. What you may have missed in Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s description of different characters. She writes with great admiration about a guy making a good sandwich, about a brakeman on the train or some other ‘lower’ position. The picture she paints of the business executives in the book is less flattering. What she is differentiating is the attitude that each brings to their work. Regardless of the job, a self-confident and competent worker is depicted with admiration. A weasel is depicted as a weasel, whether the person is a train conductor, politician or company executive. My worldview, leads me to focus on progress. It leads me to seek value for value. This can only occur in a free society. Your worldview, leads you to focus on hardship. It leads you to make sacrifices to others weaknesses (or demand that society make sacrifices to a group’s weaknesses). This can only occur with a strong central government. In my worldview, you are free to hold your beliefs and act on them independently. In your worldview, I may be able to hold my beliefs. But if I act on them and succeed, I will be required by law to justify my success with ever greater contributions to the ‘public good’. And even this does not protect me from your wrath. I will still be branded as selfish and uncaring. My practices will be researched to find even the slightest hint of racism or discrimination. And once found, my life will be delivered to the court of public opinion. I will be at the mercy of the ‘public good’ with no recourse once the judgment is handed down. You say I exaggerate. Ask the guys at AIG if I am exaggerating. In the end, the United States of America was founded on my beliefs. The Constitution was written to provide freedom to the individual. It was written to protect the individual’s right to property (all of his property, not just the amount the government was willing to let him keep). It was written with the full recognition that not everyone would be able to achieve great riches. But it wanted to give a person the freedom to succeed or fail. Further, the Founding Fathers recognized that the greatest threat to individual freedom was from the government. The government has a monopoly on the legal use of force and as such should be limited to very narrow set of actions. Your worldview has twisted these concepts to unleash the current mish-mash of freedom and control. Each control you have advocated has restricted freedoms and led to ‘unintended consequences’. When those consequences become self-evident, you have always cried for more controls. “Surely it is the free part of this equation that has caused the problem”, you reason. This has been going on for over a century. I believe the US is at a point where it can choose to reverse this trend or accelerate its progression. If the US decides to accelerate, my life and freedom are in jeopardy. Sure it may seem minor to you if my taxes go up or my child is forced to do service in return for her Pell Grant education. I do not. This is my life and you have no claim on it."
  9. Unconstitutional

    Bill, Please don't make any more suggestions like this. Apparently the Congressional Black Caucus went to Cuba this week. They were all very impressed.
  10. My wife was walking around the house singing this Janis Joplin song. I decided to entertain myself by doctoring the lyrics. I thought others might be amused by my less-than-professional work: Obama, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ? Those Businessmen drive Porsches, you must make amends. Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my Pres, So Obama, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ? Obama, won’t you buy me a Plasma TV ? I voted you in so you will work for me. Those nasty Execs, ya know they are all thieves So Obama, won’t you buy me a Plasma TV ? Obama, won’t you buy me some free health care ? I’m counting on you, so my dad will be spared. Prove that you love me so that I won't dispair, Obama, won’t you buy me some free health care ? Everybody! Obama, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ? Wall St Bankers drive Porsches, you must make amends, Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my Pres, So Obama, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
  11. Joe (and Amy), Thanks for the example! I too have been active in local internet communities. I can't say that I have always been so restrained in my response to counterpoints. I would like to think that I have improved. Our local paper provides an arena for people to add comments regarding LTEs. Within a couple of weeks, I got frustrated with the level of name-calling and outright hostility of commenters. I have been less active in posting comments recently because of this. Rather than withdraw completely, though, I have developed a technique. If a letter peaks my interest, I let the goomba's shout their points at each other for a few days. I then read the full set of comments and take notes on any points worthy of addressing. Many of the commenters also link to news items I have not read before, so I learn something. I am now in the habit of composing a blog entry and posting the link in the aggregate of comments. This has been much more satisfying to me. First, I am able to address several points in full. The web comments allow only a limited number of characters, which puts a limit on how I develop an argument. Second, the goomba's who react violently to my comments never bother to follow the link. Those that have any interest usually leave comments. So, I figure I am reaching some people. I also believe I have developed a reputation for offering reasonable criticism of various issues this way. I draw this conclusion because several regular commenters do not agree with my principles but keep coming back with questions.
  12. Personal Activism

    I have done a number of things since Obama was elected to promote Objectivism. I have challenged the ideas of my nearest acquaintances at home and work whenever appropriate. I am often forced to take Ayn Rand's advice and say, "I do not agree with you on that." Many have deep felt resentment to individualism and to continue in a discussion would be futile. I resolved to write a letter to the editor at least once a month. I have also 'joined' the local paper's on-line community so that I could add my perspective. I am able to write comments related to other's LTEs. This interaction has allowed me to connect with some who share some of my ideas (though they do not follow Objectivism). I have also found a liberal leaning centrist who has entered reasonable exchanges with me. I have no hope of changing his mind, but at least I have caught him in some of his faulty logic. If nothing else, he has had to re-think his views. I have started the Fox Valley Objectivists Club ( in January of this year. I am open to any suggestions you may have for format and content. We meet once a month and have seen at least one new face at each meeting. SIDEBAR: My LTEs and comments on the newspaper web site attracted the attention of Marc Savard. He is going to run for the 8th Congressional District (WI) ( hoping to unseat Dem. Rep. Steve Kagen. He has joined several of our FVO club meetings. Boy, would that be an achievement! Influence a Congressional candidate and get him elected to Congress in 2010! I hope to expand the scope of the FVO club to provide outreach to the local middle and high schools, but I am taking it one step at a time. I like one suggestion from this topic - contact the councilor or scholarship person at the schools. I was kind of at a loss where to start the conversation with the schools (English Dept?).
  13. This letter was submitted to the Green Bay Press Gazette 3/27/09. I do not know yet whether it will be accepted for publication. After Bush was re-elected in 2004, many thought of leaving the country out of disgust for the Iraq War. They had plenty of choices for a new address. They could move to Canada or Europe and have many of the government policies they so dearly wanted here. They could have helped build 21st Century Socialism with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, if they were more adventurous. As I listen to Obama and Democrats demonize the rich, attack businesses and propose an overwhelming expansion of government, I am thinking of leaving the US. But where in the world can I go? I believe the only proper role of government is to protect individuals’ rights to life and property. As such, government should be small providing objective laws, police, courts and armed services – no more and no less. Such a government would have very limited power to interfere in my life. Unfortunately, these ideas have slowly suffocated under Progressive ideology – an ideology that teaches profits and self-interest are bad, government is a force of good and individuals derive their rights from Society. If Obama succeeds, where in the world will I find a country that provides the type of government that I long for? I won’t. I will be a man without a country.
  14. This letter was submitted to the Green Bay Press Gazette on 2/7/09. It was never published. I would love to see money taken out of politics. In fact, there was a time in American history when money was not that big a problem. What changed? Politicians started gathering more and more power. They have the power to tax, the power to limit competition, the power to spend and the power to regulate. The expansion of these powers has forced businesses to protect themselves by throwing money at politicians and lobbyists. This money has given them a voice in our government. Why should they be denied representation? Efforts to limit campaign contributions do exactly that. “But, money gives businesses too much influence”, you say. Well, government power is disproportionately aimed at restricting businesses. If individuals had to follow the rules businessmen do, you would understand. Imagine if the average household had to provide their children with a minimum allowance or keep MSDS for household cleansers. You want money out of politics? Change your thinking. Start trimming the powers of our government. You will be amazed how money looses its influence when there is none to be sold.
  15. This letter was published 1/17/09 in the Green Bay Press Gazette. One of my 2009 new years resolution was to write a letter to the editor once a month. Commentaries on the demise of Capitalism ignore one point – the US economy is not a free market. Businesses must follow regulations that hobble their efficiency and force them to act against their own best interest. Minimum wage laws and FICA taxes create a huge hurdle for employers seeking to add just one worker. OSHA and Environmental regulations heap additional burdens on businesses. Regulations stifle growth. Sarbane-Oxley created vague and onerous demands on publicly traded companies which has reduced IPOs from 269 in 1999 to just 6 in 2008. When good companies go public, employees benefit from stock purchase plans that have made some very wealthy. Sarbane-Oxley is choking that creation of wealth. Monetary policy has distorted market signals culminating in the current market meltdown. Now, rather than letting bad companies fail, we are bailing them out. This can only lead to inflation. All of these restraints and market distortions prevent the US economy from operating freely. So as you watch some dance on the grave of Capitalism, ask some simple questions. If the previous regulations did not prevent fraud and failure, why should we believe new ones will? If the first trillion dollars haven’t “stimulated” the economy, why should we think the next trillion will?