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Post 120

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 10:40amSanction this postReply
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Bill,

You just wrote:
I don't know what Michael is thinking when he suggests, in so many words, that Objectivism should incorporate a moral obligation to care for other people's orphaned children and that it should support the government's right to force us to do so. He apparently wants to compromise the principles of Objectivism in order to make them more acceptable to the average altruist/collectivist.
You don't know, but you sure speculate all over the place in a negative manner, don't you? Do you have any positive speculation to go with that or are you getting a real sore itch to engage in moral condemnation? (And I even stated clearly what my intention was and stuck to it, but hell, don't let facts get in the way. Go for it.)

You call examining principles critically "compromising" them? Dayaamm! I call it checking a premise in light of a perceived contradiction. Well by all means, don't dare think about what you accepted anymore. I certainly don't want you to commit blasphemy.

That's why the discussion stopped. Instead of discussing what I was writing, you started discussing what you think I was writing and why you think I was writing it.

(sigh)

I fear that this is a discussion that will never be done seriously on RoR, not even in the Dissent forum. On this issue, people don't think. They just judge (and usually heckle). At least that has been my experience so far. And this attitude will keep Objectivism relegated to a marginal subculture. It's a reality thing, not appeasing collectivists/altruists, as you claimed. Actually, the refusal to think about something is the real act of appeasement - even surrender. You were an excellent exception for a while, though.

Michael




Post 121

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 11:28amSanction this postReply
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Not unreasonable speculation, Teresa. 

It happened 37 years ago, in the "back of beyond " in Kenya.  A blind  boy, whose parents were killed by raiders, was left behind by his nomadic tribe.  It wasn't in anybody's best interest, to take him into an existing family group. He was left in the bush, among poisonous snakes and scorpions. 

Objectivism seems an extreme philosophy to me. This annecdote illustrates one logical end to Ayn Rand's position. Yes, these are uncivilized tribalists; but they demonstrated the same outlook (as regards the issue of an abandoned child) as Objectivists, ie,  Someone will, but there's no obligation; if it's not in my, or anyone's best interest.

Such a strange notion, Objectivism and Tribalism on the same side of the argument.  Ayn Rand must be squirming in her grave.

No promoting the idea behind the Scottish Folktale:  Always Room For One More.   BTW I chuckled over your helicopter joke.

Sharon





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Post 122

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 11:36amSanction this postReply
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On this issue, people don't think. They just judge (and usually heckle).
Words are not divorced from the premises that lay under them. You talk about Bill and others as being wrong. Wrong, judgmental, and not thinking.

Go back home Michael. Here ideas and arguments actually have underlying premises.

Ethan




Post 123

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 11:54amSanction this postReply
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Sorry, Sharon, you're right.  I thought about qualifying my statement to enlightened Western cultures, and now I see that I should have done that. I took it for granted people would pick up on the fact that I was speaking of modern cultures, not those stuck in the prehistoric, with prehistoric views, no science or literature at all.  I wasn't speaking of tribal societies, but those that have moved forward from 10,000 years ago.
(glad you liked the joke! :)

(Edited by Teresa Summerlee Isanhart on 4/07, 11:56am)




Post 124

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 12:05pmSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

One correction. I don't know about the "wrong" part. Literally. I myself am undecided on a few things and am mulling them over, so it is premature for me to make that general judgment on someone else's position at this point in time. There are a couple of points Bill got wrong (and one he even admitted), but "wrong" in general? You attribute that appraisal to me, but that's all you.

What I do know about most of the people who have discussed this with me is that they were judgmental and not thinking on this issue. Most even heckled. But they're not that way in general. Just on this issue. By no means do I believe most people here don't think or are some kind of bad people. I wouldn't waste my time among bad people.

I think many Objectivists make a bad mistake, though. There are "forbidden" premises and they treat checking them like blasphemy. Is that Objectivism to you? I also thought the Dissent forum was for this kind of discussion. Maybe I am wrong? If so, may I suggest renaming it the Heckle forum?

I hold that not discussing an issue the rest of the world holds as a value merely weakens the philosophy (especially when the literature is unclear). It's also easier to point a finger and condemn.

There was a 10 course lecture series that used to be given at NBI by Reva Fox called "Principles of Child Rearing (first given in 1968). I am very curious as to what was in that course. I have a feeling there are things in there that have bearing on what we were discussing.

Lastly, does your "go back home" mean banning or moderation, or just sounding off?

Michael





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Post 125

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 12:11pmSanction this postReply
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does your "go back home" mean banning or moderation, or just sounding off?

I'm not a moderator on RoR so it's just sounding off.

I think many Objectivists make a bad mistake, though.
I think many people who call themselves Objectivists aren't.

I also thought the Dissent forum was for this kind of discussion.
Hey, something you ARE right on.

Ethan




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Post 126

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 1:27pmSanction this postReply
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Everyone was certain that Someone would do it; but it was Nobody who stepped up to the plate; and that was just the way it was.
Everyone was certain that the cotton would get picked, but not enough people volunteered, so the rest, as they say, is history, and that's just the way it was. I think I see what you're saying, Sharon. Too bad you weren't around when the 13th Amendment was up for passage. What a nefarious piece of legislation that was, right? Just made it damn near impossible to force people to serve the needs of others. But we got around it somehow didn't we? The Welfare State is alive and well, and thank God for that!

- Bill



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Post 127

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 1:38pmSanction this postReply
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(Deleted - not important.)

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 4/07, 2:51pm)




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Post 128

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 1:53pmSanction this postReply
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Bill,

You just wrote:
I don't know what Michael is thinking when he suggests, in so many words, that Objectivism should incorporate a moral obligation to care for other people's orphaned children and that it should support the government's right to force us to do so. He apparently wants to compromise the principles of Objectivism in order to make them more acceptable to the average altruist/collectivist.
You don't know, but you sure speculate all over the place in a negative manner, don't you? Do you have any positive speculation to go with that or are you getting a real sore itch to engage in moral condemnation? (And I even stated clearly what my intention was and stuck to it, but hell, don't let facts get in the way. Go for it.)

You call examining principles critically "compromising" them? Dayaamm! I call it checking a premise in light of a perceived contradiction.
What perceived contradiction?
Well by all means, don't dare think about what you accepted anymore. I certainly don't want you to commit blasphemy.
Oh, brother! Michael, either you agree with Objectivism that we don't have a moral obligation to care for other people's orphaned children, or you don't. Either you agree that the government has no right to force us to support them, or you don't. So, which is it? Care to give us a straight answer?

- Bill



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Post 129

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 3:11pmSanction this postReply
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Bill,
Care to give us a straight answer?
I'm still thinking, Bill. I'm not sure the question is as simple as that. (I used to think it was though, in the classic tradition you mention.)

I'll definitely let you know (if you're interested) when I finish mulling this over. The only thing I can say 100% sure is that I oppose appeasement with evil, altruism as a philosophical ideal and slavery. I support independent thinking, I place supreme value on reason and I admire achievers. I consider all the bickering as BS and nothing more.

That's my honest best right now. (And no, I will not give up Objectivism simply because a doubt arose about the nature of someone's rights, I don't care what any busybody indirectly claims about owning Objectivism and being able to set the terms.)

Michael




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Post 130

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 4:06pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Bill,

Why the Hobson's choice? 

And why abuse the woman with a mean-spirited reference to slavery?  

Do you consider it immoral to entertain the idea, that Objectivism might need a special clause for child protection?

If  an Objectivist government can legitimately marshall armies to protect the private property of its citizens; should the same government not be under obligation to provide surveillance over children's emergencies?  

Another child issue is the one around indentured labour; adopting a child and using it as an unpaid work force.  Remember the Home Children, the Bernardo Children?

I have to speculate, that if Ayn Rand had been a grandmother; she would have addressed issues around children more fully.  I think that she just never got around to it.

It's not entirely logical, that an Objectivist government should not give as much protection to my orphaned grandchild, as it would to the abandoned bails of cotton in my warehouse. 

Do Objectivists believe, that in an Objectivist world children would be more treasured than they are in today's world?  Is that the reason that no one needs to speak officially for the Objectivist child?                             

By the way... does anyone know how many children of Objectivists exist today?

Sharon






Post 131

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 5:40pmSanction this postReply
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Sharon wrote,
Hi Bill,

Why the Hobson's choice?
Excuse me, but how does what I said have anything to do with a "Hobson's choice"?
And why abuse the woman with a mean-spirited reference to slavery?
Why abuse "the woman"? What woman might that be? Are you referring to yourself? And, if so, how is it abuse to point out that slavery is exactly what you have when people are forced to care for children who are not their own. Quoting Rand,


If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.

Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.

No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty, or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as the "the right to enslave." ("Man's Rights, VOS, p. 96)


Do you consider it immoral to entertain the idea, that Objectivism might need a special clause for child protection?
What kind of a question is that? Why would I consider it immoral to entertain that or any other idea? As for child protection, a child deserves to be protected by the government from having his or her rights violated. The point at issue in this discussion is whether or not a child has a right to be supported by people who are not his or her parents. And the answer to that question is no, because such a right would impose an involuntary servitude on those who are not responsible for the child's welfare. There can be no "special clause" in Objectivism that would permit the imposition of an unchosen obligation or an involuntary servitude on behalf of other people's needs, whether the beneficiaries are adults or children.
If an Objectivist government can legitimately marshall armies to protect the private property of its citizens; should the same government not be under obligation to provide surveillance over children's emergencies?
According to Objectivism, the government has one basic function and that is to protect people's rights. Every other service should be done privately, whether it is charitable assistance (like the Red Cross) in the case of emergencies or foster homes for orphaned children. If you want to help needy children, there is nothing in Objectivism that would stop you, but you don't have a right to take a gun (or its equivalent in the form legal coercion) and force me to help them.
Another child issue is the one around indentured labour; adopting a child and using it as an unpaid work force. Remember the Home Children, the Bernardo Children?
Why would you think that, according to Objectivism, it's okay for parents to abuse their children, because that's the implication in your example? Now, if the parents cannot survive any other way - if, in order to put food on the table and a roof over their heads - they have to enlist the support of their children, as farm families often did, and as family owned businesses sometimes do - then there can be no objection to that. But outright abuse is a violation of the rights of the children to be properly cared for by the parents.

- Bill




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Post 132

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 6:22pmSanction this postReply
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If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.

Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.

No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty, or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as the "the right to enslave." ("Man's Rights, VOS, p. 96)

AND YET THIS KEEPS POPPING UP - NOT JUST WITH THE CHILD BUSINESS, BUT WITH ABORTION AS WELL




Post 133

Friday, April 7, 2006 - 11:57pmSanction this postReply
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The Hobson's choice Bill, was a weak swat at your implication that to ask for legislation for child protection, or even to entertain such an idea as MSK has done; is to brand one's self  a collectivist altruist.

The ad womanum was your trying to put me in my place because I reported that  it was Nobody who came to help.  You just couldn't let me enjoy my tiny attempt at cleverness........... and then dragging in all that cotton-picking stuff.  I forgive you.  (small chuckle)

I mentioned the Bernardo Children because they enjoyed no child protection laws. Many were treated as family slaves, fed less nutritious food than the natural children, and given sleeping quarters in the barn, forced to work long hours.  Not illegal treatment, but not benevolent.  Objectivist thinking would return us to those times; without a contingency plan for any child who might be in need of protection.

Do you accept that Objectivism is without flaws?           Also, let me ask again, do you, think that an Objectivist world would contain greater numbers of benevolent individuals than the world we experience today?     Is that why a question about abandoned children is moot?

Sharon



   



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Post 134

Sunday, April 9, 2006 - 1:42amSanction this postReply
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Sharon wrote,
The Hobson's choice Bill, was a weak swat at your implication that to ask for legislation for child protection, or even to entertain such an idea as MSK has done; is to brand one's self a collectivist altruist.
And what is the implication of this legislation? The implication is that I am forced at the point of a gun to support someone else's abandoned or orphaned children. Let me ask you this: There are starving children in Africa. Assuming that they could be helped by international aid workers, would you draft people in the U.S. to serve that function, in the same way that we drafted soldiers to staff our military? And if you would not, because doing so would violate their rights, then why would you expropriate people's income for a similar purpose? If enslaving people for a good cause is a violation of their rights, why isn't robbing them for a good cause also a violation of their rights? Does it make any difference whether a person is forced against his will to work for the sake of others, or forced against his will to surrender the product of his work for the sake of others? If the first constitutes involuntary servitude, then so does the second.
The ad womanum was your trying to put me in my place because I reported that it was Nobody who came to help. You just couldn't let me enjoy my tiny attempt at cleverness........... and then dragging in all that cotton-picking stuff. I forgive you. (small chuckle)
Excuse me, but there is absolutely nothing to forgive, since I committed no transgression. Cleverness aside, if you're going to interpret a civil and appropriate answer to an argument you've offered as "abuse" or as "putting you in your place," then you've foreclosed all possibility of debate by treating any criticism of your views as an impropriety.
I mentioned the Bernardo Children because they enjoyed no child protection laws. Many were treated as family slaves, fed less nutritious food than the natural children, and given sleeping quarters in the barn, forced to work long hours. Not illegal treatment, but not benevolent. Objectivist thinking would return us to those times; without a contingency plan for any child who might be in need of protection.
As I said, Objectivism does not condone child abuse, and such abuse would certainly be illegal in an Objectivist society. What Objectivism does not support is involuntary servitude on behalf of other people's needs, including abandoned or orphaned children. Can you grasp the distinction, because it doesn't seem to me that you have?
Do you accept that Objectivism is without flaws?
I do not regard it as a flaw that Objectivism supports the right to liberty and opposes involuntary servitude. Apparently, you do. Apparently, you think that involuntary servitude on behalf of other people's needs is entirely appropriate.
Also, let me ask again, do you, think that an Objectivist world would contain greater numbers of benevolent individuals than the world we experience today? Is that why a question about abandoned children is moot?
No, not necessarily. But coercing people into caring for children who are not their own is not the answer. Nor is supporting people on government welfare programs, which has created more problems than it has solved. Since President Johnson's "Great Society" programs in the 1960's greatly expanded government assistance to the poor, the number of out-of-wedlock births and child-abuse cases has skyrocketed.

Just to give you an idea: Out of all births, the percentage of births by unmarried white women in 1960 was 2.3%; in 1990, it was 21%. For unmarried black women, the percentages were 23% in 1960 and 65% in 1990. The number of child abuse cases showed a similar rise. In 1976 (the first year in which they were recorded), the rate per 10,000 was 101; in 1990, the rate per 10,000 was 390. The number of reported cases rose from 669,000 to 2,537,000. As a percentage of families with children, the number of single-parent families rose from 9.1% in 1960 to 28.6% in 1991. Total social spending in constant 1990 dollars rose from 144 billion in 1960 to 787 billion in 1990, or as a percentage of GNP, from 6.73% in 1960 to 14.4% in 1990, which is more than a five-fold increase. Means-tested welfare spending in constant 1990 dollars rose from 28.9 billion in 1960 to 211.9 billion in 1990, which is a seven-fold increase.

This kind of government aid encourages young parents to rely less on their own resources and more on the government, which discourages them from developing their talents and from staying together to provide for their children. The stress of single parenting, in turn, leads to an increase in child abuse. The remedy is to get the government out of the poverty business, because government aid simply exacerbates the problem. Under laissez-faire capitalism, people would learn to be far more responsible for their own affairs, and the number of people needing assistance would decline dramatically. Given the far fewer numbers of neglected children, there would be more than enough private charity to accommodate them.

- Bill



Post 135

Sunday, April 9, 2006 - 7:31amSanction this postReply
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Hi Bill,

Do you know that today is Palm Sunday?  I've just had my socks blown off at a website I stumbled on yesterday; and stayed up all last night reading it from top to bottom.

I am no intellectual match for your cogent arguments. I must accept them; but I can't promote them with a happy heart. 

Objectivism has been my default philosophy for exactly 41 years this month.  I have been unsettled by some of Rand's positions; namely the one on children, but I just assumed that common ground could be found.  Contingencies could be formulated.  You have shown me that is not the case.  Therefore, I have the opinion that a piece of the puzzle is missing.

I found it last night. 

When I stumbled on the Playboy interview with Ayn Rand, I couldn't believe my mind.  I couldn't argue with her ideas. I have never read fiction much, so over the years I had been reading her non-fiction only; trying to figure things out for myself, never having anyone with which to discuss the unique ideas.

This time it's different. I think I've got you Bill, and maybe Michael, to help guide my thinking this time.

HAS  AYN RAND BEEN TRUMPED BY JEREMY GRIFFITH ?  I think .......gasp........ she may.  If you are curious about what I'm talking about, please indulge this woman of not so big brain, and give this website a serious going over.            www.humancondition.info      

If you can blow holes in what this Jeremy Griffith has to say,  I'd be so grateful to hear your arguments.  Interesting, that this time, I'm having a conversation with the very talented you, when these mind-shattering ideas come into my life.  So unlike the last time this happened, in 1965.

Please don't parse my note with all those zebras. Just hold your nose and let it pass, for once. I'm one of your groupies here; so please....., tell me what you really think about  " the foundation for humanity's adulthood ". 

If this is too impertinent a request, I'll understand.

Thank you Bill for all the time you've given to me already;  to quote Joe Maurone, Shine on!

Cheery Bye
Sharon,        always stumbling through life.

  




Post 136

Sunday, April 9, 2006 - 5:24pmSanction this postReply
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Sharon,

Thank you for the nice words, and for your honesty. I did not not realize it is Palm Sunday, because I am not religious and do not pay attention to religious observances. Did you know it is also my birthday? Of course, you didn't, but I'll bet you can guess which occasion I consider the more important. :-) Easter occurs during the Spring Equinox, a time of fertility, as life blooms anew after a long winter. So a secular Easter, understood as a celebration of life's rebirth and renewal coincides nicely with my own birthday.

I gather that you're a Christian, which I find surprising, given your interest in Rand and Objectivism. I did visit the Jeremy Griffith link that you recommended, but there's a lot to read. Can you give me a brief synopsis of his views, and tell me why you find them so impressive?

You wrote,
I am no intellectual match for your cogent arguments. I must accept them; but I can't promote them with a happy heart.
Why not? If you recognize that the best way to help children is to promote the kind of social system that requires parents to take responsibility for their actions, then you should also recognize that there is no alternative that could better serve the interests of children than a free society. We have seen that expropriated handouts create the opposite of their intended effects, by making people more dependent on government, more irresponsible, and more likely to neglect and abuse their children. If you really value the welfare of children, isn't that all the more reason to support Objectivism?

Happy Easter!

- Bill




Post 137

Sunday, April 9, 2006 - 5:35pmSanction this postReply
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Happy birthday, Bill. May you have many more.

Michael & Kat

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 4/09, 5:42pm)




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Post 138

Sunday, April 9, 2006 - 8:59pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Michael and Kat, for the birthday greetings!

Cheers,

Bill



Post 139

Sunday, April 9, 2006 - 11:12pmSanction this postReply
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Happy Birthday Bill.

Christian indeed,   I was looking at the calender.
Palm Sunday was the beginning of the end for Jesus.  When I read Jeremy Griffith's book last night;  I began to see the limitations that would portend the beginning of the end of Objectivism, for me, at least.  Griffith agrees with many Objectivist positions, such as dismissal of religion, no government, no feminist movement, no environmentalism, no denial.  He makes a convergence of science and myth and describes  the human condition; as a combination of instinct and intellect tempered with compassion.  I saw his paradigm as Objectivism plus.

I've tried to formulate a logical argument for you Bill, but it's too difficult to make a compare and contrast without making a career out of it.  I have a life away from this. Without infallably argued carefully crafted statements, I'll be dismissed out of hand.  I don't need to prosyletize, I just wanted to let you know that the shine is off Objectivism for me; and it's because of Jeremy Griffith.

If  you aren't curious enough to look at a new perspective, I'll move on.  I do respect your mind, and I'm very curious to learn what your reaction would be, but, as my daughter often says, "It's good to want".

Ayn Rand was a brilliant thinker, a genius. She stands with Socrates, Gallileo and Freud in contributing towards a better understanding of the human condition; but another eccentric,  has climbed upon her shoulders, and he has a new vision of Utopia that has its roots in the far distant past.  He speaks with a depth of understanding that I find lacking in Objectivism.  This began as an intuition, and now, having been seduced by Griffith's paradigm, and it bodes well for a magnificent future. 

I think the galvanizing issue, is the fact that Jeremy Griffith can speak with benevolence and compassion about absolutely everyone, even Emmanuel Kant.  Now you can crucify me.

This is the first day of the rest of your life Bill,  open your mind to Jeremy Griffith, who knows the places you'll go. 

Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.
Sharon                                                      



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