About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread


Post 0

Sunday, July 17 - 11:45pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
This is an interesting comment I noticed on Alex Epstein's FB page: "Capitalism and industrialization are as responsible for the long life of your father as they are the invention and adoption of the atomic bomb by world powers. Destruction is not a necessary result of free market capitalism--just one likely to occur when men interact with men. For that reason, it is imperfect."



Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 1

Monday, July 18 - 1:08amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'm not buying it. It implies that men are incapable of consistent moral behavior. (And it's probably either a call for regulation, or it goes back to the conservatives' religious position that man is not perfectible).

Capitalism is just the name of the economic system that results when men interact with one another by choice - free of the threat to initiate force, the actual initiation of force, fraud or theft.

When force (or one of its corollaries) is initiated, the failure needs to be laid first upon the head of the person that initiated it, and second upon any organized or proposed system of beliefs that would justify that (for example ANY and ALL of the other economic systems, but never capitalism, since it is the only system that does all a SYSTEM can do towards perfection in that area. The rest has to be up to the individuals.

(I didn't address the other confusions in that quote - that it was not a free market that created or used the atomic bomb, but rather a war-time government. Nor did I address the differences between destruction in the effort of national self-defense versus moral or immoral acts of individuals.)



Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 2

Monday, July 18 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
He doesn't define the standard for perfection here so it's just a floating abstraction. And if he's referring to perfection as a Platonic Ideal it's an irrational standard.

Besides, with the invention of nuclear weapons there has been a decrease of war because of it, most likely because it is so destructive it is not worth waging war with that technology. So it has prevented wars between major powers.



Post 3

Monday, July 18 - 6:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
now he's running away from his comment:

"I said that capitalism is responsible for advances in medical science leading toward a longer average life expectancy as it is advances in warfare. I didn't say industrialization directly leads to war."



Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 4

Monday, July 18 - 7:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Do you notice that he keeps referring to capitalism as industrialization? But that isn't the essential or defining element of capitalism or a synonym. Capitalism is free enterprise - freedom to exercise your own choice and the right to own the product of your efforts.

What your friend advocates as an alternative is, of necessity, less or no freedom, less or no recognition of your right to own property. These are conditions that can only be maintained by some degree of dictatorship. That is the nasty secret of the Return-to-nature advocates, that man can only be kept in the hunter-gather state by violating man's right to own property, and the freedom to take any action that would upset their attempt to create utopia.

Industrialization is just the natural outcome of people making choices, acting in a relatively free environment, and a certain amount of their property rights being respected.



Post 5

Tuesday, July 19 - 3:52amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"Responsible for" is ambiguous.  Epstein could be saying simply that the technology could not have been invented in an unfree society.  This would put him in agreement with Rand and Robert Oppenheimer, who, according to BB, hit it off over their agreement that the Nazis could never have accomplished this.



Post 6

Tuesday, July 19 - 5:28amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Epstein could be saying simply that the technology could not have been invented in an unfree society.  This would put him in agreement with Rand and Robert Oppenheimer, who, according to BB, hit it off over their agreement that the Nazis could never have accomplished this.
Accomplished what -- building a nuclear bomb? The Nazis were working on it, but the U.S.A. beat them to it.

"During the Second World War, [Werner] Heisenberg worked for Germany, researching atomic technology and heading their nuclear reactor program. After the war, his involvement with the Nazis earned him certain notoriety in the world of physicists, mainly due to the fact that he could have given Hitler the means to produce and use nuclear arms" (link).

By the way, I saw the play Copenhagen, and it was very good. The second half was a letdown, sinking into relativism, but the first half was superb.




Post 7

Tuesday, July 19 - 5:41amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
That used to be the story.  I'm not an expert on this, but virtually everything I've seen on this topic for decades says that the Germans had a basic research program that was cancelled in 1941, long before it had any usable technology.  Your link shows only that some Germans were talking about it.  People talked about flying machines for over two thousand years before anybody built one.

A stage play is at best a weak source of historical fact, but according to the article, this one isn't even reliable as stage plays go.




Post 8

Tuesday, July 19 - 6:14amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'm no expert on it either. The following web pages have more about it.

The Nazi Nuclear Program How Close Were the Nazis to Developing an Atomic Bomb?

German nuclear energy project




Post 9

Tuesday, July 19 - 8:45amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I never heard of your first source, and I have no idea if it's credible or not.  Wikipedia is usually trustworthy.  In a quick perusal of the article I note that, in the Comparison of the Manhattan Project and the Uranverein and Recent Developments sections, that the article accepts the standard story: the Germans were closing in on the bomb like da Vinci was closing in on the 747.
(Edited by Peter Reidy on 7/19, 8:52am)




Post to this thread
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.