Jim Austin

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Everything posted by Jim Austin

  1. Frederick Douglas Quote

    "The fifth day after my arrival [in Bedford, Massachusetts], I put on the clothes of a common laborer, and went upon the wharves in search of work. On my way down Union street I saw a large pile of coal in front of the house of Rev. Ephraim Peabody, the Unitarian minister. I went to the kitchen door and asked the privilege of bringing in and putting away this coal. 'What will you charge?' said the lady. 'I will leave that to you, madam.' 'You may put it away,' she said. I was not long in accomplishing the job, when the dear lady put into my hands two silver half-dollars. To understand the emotion which swelled my heart as I clasped this money, realizing that I had no master who could take it from me,--that it was mine--that my hands were my own, and could earn more of the precious coin,--one must have been in some sense himself a slave...I was not only a free-man, but a free working-man, and no 'master' stood ready at the end of the week to seize my hard earnings." [italics original.] p. 130 "My Escape from Slavery" by Frederick Douglas, The Century Magazine, Volume XXIII, No. I, November 1881. I found the quote many long years ago. It indicates that among the rights appreciated by a newly freed slave was property rights, who traced his ownership of the money he earned to his ownership of his person.
  2. Happy Birthday to Jim Austin

    Thanks. The cake looks good. Mmmmmmmm! Wish I had some. Take care.
  3. "No conflicts among rational men"

    Such "venomous name-calling," etc. indicate only that not all participating bloggers are rational.
  4. Interest Rates and Inflation

    Simple inflation, which is just massive printing of paper money, causes interest rates to rise as lenders seek to compensate for anticipaed losses in value of the principle. Inflation by credit expansion causes interest rates to decrease as the new money enters the economy as new loans. It's a matter of supply and demand with increased supply resulting in lower prices, in this case, interests. Interest rates ultimate results from the discount people have of future goods compared to present goods. Stock prices represent present value of expected future gains. Artifically lower interest rates causes a higher valuation on future gains, which thus results in inflated stock market prices which come crashing down when interest rates are tightened in any way. With artificially lowered interests, banks and other lenders must do a volume business if they hope to make any money. That itself results in more loans to unqualified borrowers, which inevitably leads to more defaults. Those wishing any kind of return on investment are forced to make increasingly risky investments. Those who would be satisfied with four percent in a savings account move on to riskier investments when banks pay less than one percent interest. Those who would be happy with six percent from mutual funds go one to more speculative investments to gain the same percentages. The process continues. For these and other reasons, lower interest rates inevitably lead to crashes.
  5. Is it rational to HATE those who threaten your loved ones?

    This is another on of those "Go ahead" moments. If certain people want to make asses of themselves with rhetorical overkill, go ahead. Be marginalized. Objectivists will simply have to repudiate them. I, of course, said nothing about loving socialists. Those with average or above reading comprehension skills know that I regared the appropriate emotion was contempt.
  6. Is it rational to HATE those who threaten your loved ones?

    Forum members should consider consequences of hate -- both personnal and practical.
  7. Is it rational to HATE those who threaten your loved ones?

    Yes. They destroyed private property. They physically assaulted individuals. They rioted. Some got their asses shot off.
  8. Ayn Rand wrote extensively about a nation's dominant philosophy, how it's created, how it changed. A nations dominant political philosophy determines the authority of government, what it can do, and the extent people are morally obligated to obey the government. The governing political philosophy also defines the extent that persons could defy the government and, not only get away with it, but to become heroes and influence policy. The moment a government operates outside what that dominant philosophy permits, people rebel, government employees disobey, the government disolves. When certain Third World rulers have decided to become less tyrannical, when they decide to ease up, possibly under pressure of more civilized nations, people revolt and reestablish a more tyrannical regime. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution reflected the governing philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment. Since then, the governing philosophy has changed. Words of the Constitution are given different meanings, or in certain cases, ignored entirely. During such changes, the American people were OK with it. They wanted the government to do more, to regulate businesses, to tax more from the rich, to provide more to the poor. Those who protested that such policies are inconsistent with the words of the U.S. Constitution were ignored. Fidelity to the actual words of the Constitution ceased being a priority. When the U.S. Supreme Court under the New Deal looked at Article I Section 10 that stated, "No State shall...pass any...Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts," and decided states could pass such laws despite the blanket, unqualified prohibition, the people cheered. People didn't always like the effects of such changes. They didn't like their own taxes going up. They didn't like occasional impediments to their freedom. They didn't like the increased crime. They didn't like their own youngsters graduating from high schools unable to read their own diplomas. But for the most part, they acqueised, considering such as small prices to pay for feeling more secure with a government that will take care of them. People voted for candidates supporting large government. The Republicans that are supposed to oppose all that became too chicken to put up mush resistance, and in certain cases, themselves pushing for more government. The only way to change all that is to change the dominant philosophy. Rand has demonstrated that the metaphysics of mysticism leads to the epistemology of authority, which leads to ethics of altruism which leads to the politics of tyranny, despotism, dictatorship and that the metaphysics of a natural universe leads to the epistemology of reason, which leads to the ethics of egoism, which leads to the politics of limited government, freedom, liberty, rights. Defiance of laws that are, when honestly considered, unconstitutional won't work. Forming militias to support such defiance won't work. They'll only get people killed. The only thing that's going to work is to argue for a better metaphysics, epistomology, ethics, and then politics. In the meantime, we support that miserable moderate Romney against Obama in this year's election.
  9. The question of "Who decides?" remains unanswered. JohnRgt didn't like people deciding for themselves. ("Did anyone suggest this?"). He didn't like a democratic vote of the populace. ("That presumes truth is a function of popularity.") And he didn't like the government deciding it as well. (His response was non-responsive.) I think that just about exhausts possibilities. So, who decides? Apparently nobody.
  10. Is it rational to HATE those who threaten your loved ones?

    When arguing against those urging self-destructive and possibly suicidal actions, there comes a time when one says, "Go ahead. Do it," even if it wouldn't quite, uh, make my day. Various individual have argued, if not for, then at least toward armed insurrection. After agreeing that long term hatred is a bad idea, Bill Bucko says, "But it's necessary to deal with the tyrants in Washington NOW." How does he plan to deal? "I can do no less than to FIGHT for my beloved children, NOW," Bucko said. So, go ahead, fight, and possibly get your ass shot off. Needless to say, an armed insurrection would not prevail. The U.S. government is militarily too powerful, and the population would be unsympathetic. NOW is a particularly bad time for Objectivists to reach for their rifles. In the meantime, sitting around hating nefarious politicians who continually scheme to further expand governmental power, as well as their supporters in academia and the media, is a vast waste of emotional energy. The appropriate emotion toward such malefactors is contempt, that is, when thinking about them at all. In terms of NOW, the best we can hope for is to defeat Obama and replace him with a moderate Republican whose plans for expanded government is a bit more modest. Ayn Rand wrote at length about how the dominant philosophy works to implements its ideas -- more and more consistently as time goes on. Our best hope is in replacing the dominant philosophy with Objectivism. It's going to be a long struggle, and allowing ourselves to be eaten up by hatred in the meantime is personally and politically self-defeating. Hateful rhetoric is self-defeating, which is why the liberal contingent continually strives to misconstrue (misconscrew) even the mildest of reproaches as hate speech.
  11. Is it rational to HATE those who threaten your loved ones?

    The question assumes facts not in evidence.
  12. JohnRgt believes that intellectually honest people should have certain rights denied to others not so intellectually honest -- not exactly an unattractive prospect. But the question persists: Who decides? May each person decide that he/she has sufficient intellectual honesty to be entitled to the right to defy the government? Or should some office, agency or special court of that same usurpatory government be able to take applications and decide who merits such rights? Perhaps a slate of candidates can placed before the voters to decide the question, uh, democratically.
  13. I would like to rephrase the question: Do state militias or anyone else have the right to oppose what they have convinced themselves to their own satisfaction are criminal usurpations by the federal government? When one considers the fact that certain people are capable of convincing themselves that anything the federal government does that they don't like is a usurpation, the question is about the extent each person can be his/her own Supreme Court on the validity of federal laws.
  14. Is it rational to HATE those who threaten your loved ones?

    It is rational to hate? Not on any chronic, continuous basis. Hatred is a painful emotion. As such, painful emotions leave callouses, eventually making it impossible to feel much of anything, not even hatred. Hatred is thus appropriate for immediate threats, providing extra energy to deal with those threatening iminent harm to oneself or loved ones. As for long term threats, like those on the initial poster's list, such persons involved in such threats are definitely not worth the emotional energy involved in hatred. In her novels, Rand's characters didn't generally think about evil persons except at such times it was necessary to deal with them.
  15. Anarchism as a Form of Statism

    United opposition? I would expect united opposition against any such court that is an obvious threat to everybody else. But where the threat is less obvious, I don't think so. Given the costs of such opposition, it would be definitely less expensive to let the others oppose the less then clear threat. This would give any rogue court plenty of leeway to persue their coercive policies.
  16. Anarchism as a Form of Statism

    So? Does that mean that we should passively endure any violence and destruction unleashed on us by foreign governments or terrorist factions? Does that mean we join with any faction seeking a government modeled after North Korea under Kim Il Jong or Cambodia under Pol Pot?
  17. Anarchism as a Form of Statism

    Examples? Check out my initial post about Ron Paul siding with Iran against the U.S.
  18. Anarchism as a Form of Statism

    Ruveyn von yosef says, "There are only bad governments and worse governments." The libertarian pattern has been to side with worse governments against bad governments. Indeed, the worse the government, the more strongly it commands libertarian sympathies.
  19. Anarchism as a Form of Statism

    Leonid says, "There are only bad governments and worse governments. " The libertarian pattern has been to side with worse governments against bad governments.
  20. Anarchism as a Form of Statism

    Are libertarians statists? Ayn Rand says a statist "believes that some men have the right to force, coerce, enslave, rob, and murder others." ("Capitalism -- the Unknown Ideal".) Ron Paul has characterized terrorist attacks against the U.S. as "blowback" resulting from the U.S. toppling the Mohammed Mossadeq regime in Iran in 1953 in response to its nationalizing the property of U.S. and British oil companies. This would be a libertarian asserting the Iranian government's right to force, coerce enslave and rob. On other occasions, libertarians have defended rights of the likes of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qadhafi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, etc. to force, coerce, enslave, rob and murder, all without interference by the United States. Libertarians are statists.
  21. Bob Taft and Barry Goldwater would be turning over in their graves

    Unfortunately, the "Cronies or the Can't Do folk" were very much in charge during Robert Taft's and Barry Goldwater's time. They managed to derail Taft's effort at getting nominated in 1952. Unable to prevent Goldwater from gaining the nomination in 1964, they poisoned the well with such savagery during the primaries that many Republicans jumped ship and supported the Democrats in the general election.
  22. The dangers of direct democracy

    It will take more than a denial and references to exceptions, particularly those I noted earlier like Cubans and Vietnamese. Most of the data I've seen supports my statement. Specifically, in 2008: Immigrant Immigrant Citizen Non-Citizen Latino (naturalized and native-born) Democratic 55.0% 70.6% 57.4% Republican 30.9% 15.9% 27.2% Independent 14.1% 13.5% 15.4% From an inductive standpoint, open immigration coupled with easy citizenship means the U.S. voting itself into the Third World.
  23. The dangers of direct democracy

    Even Third Worlders who enter this country to work come with their own Third World outlook. By all accounts, most become citizens and vote Democratic. One citizenship oral examination went something like this: Interviewer: "What do they call the chief executive in the state government? Applicant: <Shrug> <Blank stare> Interviewer: "Arnold?" Applicant: "Oh! Yes! Governor." This person passed the exam, is now a citizen and has undoubtedly voted for Arnold's current replacement in Sacramento, the one who's waging all out war against the private sector. Objectivists support open immigration because of their belief in the individual right to reside in any desired nation or jurisdiction. However, there is no individual right to become a citizen. A proper government has the duty to fashion its citizenship requirements consistent with the goal of preserving and enhancing freedom. Unfortunately, our current government is doing just the opposite. Supporting open immigration within the context of current citizenship policies is to further hazard such freedoms as we have left.
  24. The dangers of direct democracy

    College professors can indeed be blamed for the deterioration of lack of respect for individual rights nationwide. However, it doesn't explain differences in respect for rights among various regions and states within the United States. A while back, Robert Tracinsky wrote: “Years ago, I remember seeing a pattern among people who moved away from leftist-dominated cities and states. People would move, say, from California to Arizona to escape the destructive consequences of statist policies. Then, all of those new residents would demand that all of those same old statist policies be adopted in their new locations. They fled statism's consequences, without rejecting its basic ideas.” (TIA Daily, May 18, 2006) If that’s true of Californians moving to Arizona, how much more true is it of Third Worlders moving to the U.S.? The bane of democracy is that people can vote themselves into a dictatorship. Fortunately, Americans have shown no such predisposition, at least not all at once. However, Third Worlders have shown no such reticence. While unjust things have been said about immigrants past and present, certain things are true. Immigrants vote for Democrats. They did back in the early 20th century, and they do now. Not all of them, of course. Hispanics tend to vote Democratic except for Cubans who vote Republican. Asians tend to vote Democratic except for Vietnamese who vote Republican. (Nothing like living in a communist country to put an immigrant into a Republican frame of mind.) One Objectivist advocated a high fence and a wide gate at the borders. I would like to add an extremely long road to citizenship.
  25. The dangers of direct democracy

    I take issue with those who automatically attach "mob rule" to any mention of democracy. From a purely inductive standpoint, our experiences with actual mobs have involved some ethnic or political minority gathering into crowds to impose its will on the majority. Politicians in dealing with such mobs have to consider possible electoral defeat if they were perceived as too soft on such mobs. Direct democracy is indeed a problem for California. While the people have passed some needed laws through California's initiative procedure, it has also passed some bad laws as well. However, it is not responsible for California decline to Third World status. The basic reason is immigration that has resulted in an influx of Third World voters who are locked into the Democratic Party, giving Democratic politicians free reign to conduct their own war against the private sector, causing the more productive part of the population to leave the state.