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Post 0

Monday, October 14 - 10:17amSanction this postReply
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Nice to meet you all.

I've been checking out this site for awhile and signed up to ask if there are any plans for people here other than posting messages. I know there are group forums that may but I mean more than that. For example, the Free State Project or Free State Wyoming is a plan involviong something outside the web. (Not that I am a fan of them.)
Checking out the 'Project Discussions' thread everything seems to be web or book based.
I sign up for everything I can but is there anything else I can't get into that members are involved in?
Again, nice to meet you all.




Post 1

Monday, October 14 - 4:32pmSanction this postReply
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Welcome, Paul!

I can help you with arranging or locating a local Ayn Rand Meetup if you like.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/14, 4:33pm)




Post 2

Monday, October 14 - 6:27pmSanction this postReply
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Welcome to RoR, Paul.

You seem like a 'gung-ho' person who likes to dive into things ("I sign up for everything I can ..."). Luke's offer is something to look into, as you would meet with people face to face and perhaps come up with "plans" of your own. For myself, I did not have a good first impression with Ayn Rand Meetup, but it appears to be something that is right up your alley. Of course, I'm just ascertaining that notion based on your 6 sentences, and how they give the impression that you are eager to get involved with others. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Would you care to fill in your (currently blank) personal description? That way, people might notice that they share interests with you, and ideas might spawn from that.

Also, you peaked my curiosity. Besides the Free State Project (which involves relocation), are you aware of other kinds of things that freedom fans are currently getting into? I'm (again) assuming that you've been interested for a while, and that you have been looking at "everything you can", for some time now.

Again, welcome to RoR, and I hope you find something that inspires you.

Ed




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Post 3

Tuesday, October 15 - 7:21pmSanction this postReply
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I go to a local meetup group once a month or so.

Maybe one day I'll found something like the free state project. But it would be more like "the individualist city project". Focusing on creating a city full of people who make themselves (have self-validated worldviews), strive for individual, parental, and friend's long term success in living, and practice a capitalist relationship with fellow city citizens. Virtues include: physical fitness; making babies; hand to hand fighting & group warfare tactics; specialization in market valued abilities; preparedness of potential disasters whether manmade (security/defense) or nature (food/water/energy storage & replentishment); and rejection of overarching government welfare programs & responsibility swaps.



Post 4

Tuesday, October 15 - 11:02pmSanction this postReply
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Making babies is a virtue? Really?



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Post 5

Tuesday, October 15 - 11:20pmSanction this postReply
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Steve: I'm not trying to make a ARI Objectivist community... I don't want to die from lung cancer (or some issue resulting from smoking->poor healing) and I'd like it to last longer than 1 generation. Despite Objectivism's breakthroughs in ethics and epistemology... Catholicism is more successful in creating new followers. Not that I'm saying that one should indoctrinate their children (I was indoctrinated as an Evangelical Protestant).



Post 6

Wednesday, October 16 - 12:56amSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I'm not following you. Making babies can be a goal, or a means, but I don't think it is virtue. And I'm not following what not being an ARI Objectivist community has to do with lung cancer... I'm missing something here - there is a kind of disjointed feel to your last two posts that is throwing me.



Post 7

Wednesday, October 16 - 8:24amSanction this postReply
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Bearing and raising productive human beings who offer net positive contributions to the world might qualify as a higher level virtue though really it comes from more fundamental virtues.

On the other hand, as Gerry Spence once wrote, "Any fool who copulates can become a parent," making the reproductive act absent context an amoral one, i.e. without moral weight.



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Post 8

Wednesday, October 16 - 9:12amSanction this postReply
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Steve: My image of an ARI Objectivist in the real world is "childless by choice smoker". Its a person who is more concerned about what Rand said than what is valid & useful. These people tend to replicate Rand's behaviors instead of applying new knowledge to make better decisions.

Smoking destroys your lungs, ruins your body's ability to repair itself, and reduces your physical abilities. Traditional ARI Objectivists smoke just like Rand, much beyond the time when it was discovered to be anti-man's life. I've been eating ice cream, and sugar has its own set of problems... I'm not perfect but I'm working on it.

To me, reproduction is a critical part of any life form's life. Mans life is a life form's life. Reproduction is one of two primary ways to extend life, the other being to increase reliability. Traditional ARI Objectivists don't consider reproduction important, maybe even as a vice. I'm not sure why Rand didn't have children. Maybe she felt her time available to work was too precious to spend on child rearing... I think its ok if some people chose not to do that... but in a philosophy/way of life in general, it must promote reproduction as a primary virtue, otherwise its practitioners will die and it will cease to be practiced. So this is a critical problem for Objectivism's long term adoption.



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Post 9

Wednesday, October 16 - 10:24amSanction this postReply
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DMG makes several cogent assumptions.

First, he is looking for a city project. Those of us here who know the works of Jane Jacobs understand why the city is truly the wellspring of civilization. Cities, not "states," are the fountainheads. Even the smallest American states are geographically large. You cannot fill one up with libertarians or whoever your favorites are. Cities are corporations; and you can incorporate a village. That also creates certain favorable situations.

Second, unlike retreatists who seek impossible "self-sufficiency" his goal leaves the routes of trade open, wide open. He is not thinking of a Galt's Gulch - which even in the fiction of the novel was not self-sufficient.

And I agree with the babies. No cult without babies has survived. No Shakers have been seen in Shaker Heights for many years. If you want your community to grow, to prosper, you need babies. Old immigrants are fine and all, but babies bring the unknown and previously unknowable to the world. Kids bring new ideas. You need that if you are going to have something other than a Kremlin for a community.

In some ancient Greek cities, citizens were fined for not attending the gymnasium. If your community depends on citizen-soldiers, then time at defense would be a requirement. In fact, America's Second Amendment has its roots in the German cities of the Middle Ages. Not trained in knighthood and having no time or interest in it, the burghers, the master craftsmen, the journeymen, and apprentices, took up firearms: easy to use in defense of the city.

But, myself, I have to question how that relates to the division of labor. After all, DMG did predicate his community on "specialization in market valued abilities." Defense is only that. Why not require that all citizens have superior computer hacking and electronic countermeasure skills? I mean, if your town is surrounded by the enemy, hacking their command and control structure is more effective than any gunplay. I see defense as a service to be sold.

Also, while your community of hand-to-hand experts might consist entirely of people like Master Po and Mr. Miyagi, my experience is that in any fight club, you get people who like to fight and some of them become problems.

All in all, I tend to agree with Ed's point of view: you are best off caring for yourself in whatever community you live. Some are better than others. Ed moved to Houston from Minneapolis. I moved to Austin from Ann Arbor. Ultimately, none of them is utopia, nor intended to be.

I recommend often California Utopian Colonies by Robert V. Hine. No place on Earth was more conducive to the many efforts. You can claim that they all failed (which they did) because they were communist, collectivist, religionist, etc. They failed because they were isolated. California also had thousands of communities that succeeded: Anaheim, Hollywood, Cupertino, Modesto, Crescent City,..., Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacremento,...

----------------

On Ice Cream


A long time ago, at a local Libertarian Party monthly dinner, the guy next to me and I both took out our little bottles of mixed pills. (Food is just a convenient uptake for vitamins.) He said that he got his first job as a kid to be able to buy his own vitamins. After dinner, he ordered two scoops of ice cream. I asked him about that. He said that he bicycled around South America - literally, around the entire coast line - and no matter where he was at night, the one thing he could count on was ice cream.

Longer ago than that, visiting family friends on a farm, we made it by hand. Much later, as a performer at the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, I learned to make it with liquid nitrogen... but it is easier with just ice and salt, especially with children. Don't put in sugar if you don't want sugar.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 10/16, 10:34am)




Post 10

Wednesday, October 16 - 10:29amSanction this postReply
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Dean,

From what I've seen ARI does an enormous amount of good. I might not agree with every single way they apply Objectivist principles, or be uniformly fond of all of their key players, but I can never get away from the fact that they energetically and effectively promote the philosophy I love.

If this or that ARI associate smokes, and does so in spite of how bad for the health that is, I see that as a foolish personal choice. But the organization isn't promoting smoking. And I'm quite sure they do NOT see child rearing as a vice. Where did you get that idea? I think you are maligning a good organization - one we should support. Have you checked your facts on this?
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Reproduction is one of two primary ways to extend life
It doesn't extend YOUR life. It makes a new life of the same species... a life with similar DNA... but your child isn't you.
-----------------

On having children, you said:
... in a philosophy/way of life in general, it must promote reproduction as a primary virtue, otherwise its practitioners will die and it will cease to be practiced. So this is a critical problem for Objectivism's long term adoption.
That is the approach the Catholics have taken. Catholicism promotes itself via reproduction. But then it is doing that for itself - for the religion, as opposed to individual's life being taken as the end. An Objectivist should view his or her happiness as the end goal and make that their reason for choosing to have children, or not.

And the day will come when no amount of reproduction will allow Catholicism to keep it's 'market share.' That's because philosophy isn't passed on in the genes.

Objectivism should, and probably will, ultimately be accepted by the majority of people - by choice - because it is the more rational, more efficacious, and more beneficial philosophy. And, like I said, philosophy isn't passed on genetically. Many are the kids that leave religious homes where the parents may have been conservative politically, and return home as atheists and liberals (or visa-versa - where liberal parents find their children become born-again and conservative). Philosophical reproduction occurs in the halls of advanced learning. That is where Objectivism will spread. That is where it is competing with altruism/mysticism/collectivism for new minds to occupy. If it doesn't eventually outpace its opponents, there in academia, that will be why it doesn't succeed overall.

I think it is basically wrong to make us ethically bound (or even encouraged) to breed on behalf of our philosophy. It is here to serve us, not us serve it. It can't be a virtue (or a vice) to have children if a person can rationally decide to have children (or not have children) and have that decision be a good one for that person.




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Post 11

Wednesday, October 16 - 10:34amSanction this postReply
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Marotta said, And I agree with the babies. No cult without babies has survived. So, is this saying that Objectivism is a cult, or that Dean is proposing a cult? And I refer to my post above where I point out that philosophy isn't transmitted genetically. Having lots of babies doesn't ensure the survival of a philosophy or a cult. The ideas have to be learned and accepted, fresh, by each new generation.



Post 12

Wednesday, October 16 - 11:05amSanction this postReply
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I agree with DMG: As you bend the twig. Steve is missing the essential element of family learning. Rarely does anyone leave behind their family of origin. We have here on RoR examples of people who claim that they are no longer this or that religion but who write as if Objectivism were their religion. Liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist,... personality is deeper than mere ideology.

To be very personal about this, recently, in discussing parenting and child-rearing, Luke Setzer said that he resented being forced to play the piano. He hated (or disliked) his father for that. Fair enough... but over the years, Luke has time and again posted about his progress on this project or that. He applies himself to whatever task he takes up. He "plays the piano" in everything he does. He never left home. He is not a wastrel, or a layabout, or an uncultured boor. He is a secular version of his hard-working fundamentalist home. And he is pretty strict with himself.

For myself, we lived with my mother's parents who were Hungarian immigrants. We were Americanized, but the culture was a substrate. So, when I was working on my master's in 2010, I looked at doctoral programs and discussed it with a professor who travels and lectures. I said that I was considering Central European University in Budapest. It was founded in part with a generous grant from George Soros and they have great programs in international studies. "Ah, yes, the Hungarians..." he said, not knowing my background which is hidden behind my name. "Fine people... They don't care how wealthy someone is as long as you are educated." It was a kick in the head. I heard that a hundred times growing up as they encouraged me to do well in school. I never realized it. Never. For all my time in self exploration on couches and in groups, it never came up. Clearly, if I had heard something else, I might be ignorant and rich. You can take the boy out of the country ...

My daughter refused to read any Ayn Rand, not even Anthem. Is she an Objectivist? Not as we would recognize it. Does she have the Objectivist virtues? All 13 cards and in spades. She just does not know it.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 10/16, 11:08am)




Post 13

Wednesday, October 16 - 11:49amSanction this postReply
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To be clear, I care about my father, but I admit to residual resentment regarding the piano issue. It is the same with any "particular" skill versus the underlying work ethic. There is a whole mindset out there wherein parents treat children like property to use for their pleasure rather than sacred trusts for stewardship. I want to see the former mindset squashed.

Anyone who has children should understand that they will eventually grow into adults and will not forget how you treated them, well or poorly, once they reach adulthood.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 10/16, 11:50am)




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Post 14

Wednesday, October 16 - 1:40pmSanction this postReply
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So, Marotta, it isn't clear - are you agreeing or disagreeing that Objectivism is a cult? Or that the way to gain growth in the spread of a philosophy is to have lots of babies? Or that it is a virtue to have babies and a vice to not have babies. Or that ideas aren't transmitted genetically? You seem to think that people can't transcend what they learned from their family.



Post 15

Wednesday, October 16 - 2:35pmSanction this postReply
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On whether Objectivism could become the predominant philosophy of humans:

An individual's strategies for successful reproduction depend on their abilities and resources. Abilities are foremost determined by structure/design. The initial structural design of a human is held in his DNA, which is then used to build his adult form from conception. Further structure is determined by environmental influences such as nutrition and education, and then furthermore by the initial design's ability to start with what its been given in life and make/build itself from there.

A big strategy for a human is whether he should be friends or enemies with extant rich people. On an individual level this manifests as trade/steal, and at a societal level as capitalism/government enforced redistribution.

Category A: If a man is relatively the same richness as the most rich in a society, then he'd not gain much by making other rich his enemy and stealing from them.

Category B: If a man is poor, and wants to be richer, and has high market value abilities, then he can either become rich by stealing from extant rich (which probably isn't worth the risk making enemies) or become rich by productivity and trade.

Category C: If a man is poor, and wants to be richer, and has no high market value abilities, then his only strategy to becoming richer is to steal from extant rich. You could argue to such a man that potentially ala Austrian Economics, he would be better off not stealing from the rich. Some accept this (C1), but many don't (C2) due to either lack of intellectual ability or individuals thinking they can game the system to individually do better in the context where wealth is being redistributed from the rich.

Category D: If a man is poor, and wants to be richer, and has no marketable abilities that could sustain his life and enable him to successfully reproduce, then his only strategy to becoming richer is to steal from the rich. There is no way to convince such a person to be friends with the rich.

Given enough generations in a flourishing species, where even the most physically and mentally unable are still capable of successfully reproducing... a great number of such poor ability people will be born. That's a great deal of people who would never accept Objectivism... because Objectivism's "you should have a capitalist relationship with all rich humans" ethics contradict their life/reproduction strategy.

Objectivism is only for those in categories A, B, and C1. A meta philosophy that recognizes the strategies of C2 and D would be more accepted... although yes clearly people in A, B, and C1 are in conflict with people in C2 and D.

Steve, you claim that people can make/build themselves in order to move from category D to C2 to C1 to B to A. I agree that this may happen in margin, but for the general rule I just don't see it happening, the divide in initial ability is too great. I affirm that there are people in D and C2 which due to their poor initial ability are unable to improve themselves to the point their strategy becomes C1.



Post 16

Wednesday, October 16 - 3:49pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

Whats the difference between a cult and a philosophically united group of individualists? Cult: dissenting ideas are repressed from thought and discussion via intimidation/arguments from authority. PUGI: dissenting ideas are permitted to be thought and discussed but unlawful actions are not.

=====

As I discussed in post 15, philosophy is dependent on genes and parents, at least when talking about an individual's strategy in society, to some extent. This is due to the children's initial abilities being determined by their genes and their initial richness of resources. But this is beside the point in this post.

The point of this post is: The most critical factor in acceptance of a philosophy (or any set of ideas) is to what extent it improves its followers success in population sustaining/growing reproduction rates.

Given that self maintenance of an individual through the infinite future is futile, reproduction success is the core goal/value of all life forms (including humans). Self maintenance is a secondary goal in order to exist long enough to make copies (children).

So a long term successful philosophy must consider population sustaining/growing reproduction a virtue (if not the core goal/value).

======

I wouldn't say that Objectivism is explicitly anti-reproduction. Yet it doesn't seem to mention it either, and implicitly, none of Rand's major characters in The Fountainhead nor Altas Shrugged had children, nor did Rand herself.

If Objectivism was more pro-reproduction, I'd think these books might also include a character who has many children and is an excellent parent and takes pride in their child rearing ability. Correct me if Rand ever mentioned such as a virtue or made such a character.



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Post 17

Wednesday, October 16 - 2:45pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks Luke, I keep checking for some but none are near by. I also live too far away from any large population area. There were two about a 100 miles away about 10 years ago I went to but they are gone now. Some good people there, but always a socializing/theorising/discuss philosophy meeting or some sort of outreach effort.

Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal was the last commonly available book by Rand I read. I found it kind of boring. Nothing wrong with it mind you. It was just by the time I read it (after all the others), I kept thinking while reading,"Yes, this philosophy is true, but enough words already, it's time to quite explaining and justifying freedom and make it a reality."



Post 18

Wednesday, October 16 - 4:02pmSanction this postReply
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Hello Ed, No I don't like to dive in to anything. I've learned to try and play card close to my chest so to speak. Plus, the net is too monitored so I don't like it too much. Would love to meet people in person, but that would be way to big an effort.

Other ideas? Yeah quite a few. Too many to meantion. I actually came up with my own in 1997 that hasn't been tryed yet. (Never had a stable enough career to go forward with it.) The various ideas all seem to hit at some key aspect (which may in fact be important) or have some theme to them. For instance, one group is called the Citadel (www.iiicitadel.com), or there are people who want to take a community 'off-the-grid'.

I'm not opposed to people having the freedom to choose their power source or the 2nd amendment but the Citadel wants to have some sort of yearly training requirement for citzens and their children for defense against an invading goverment. Groups like this are mentally unstable and can only get themselves in trouble. They're not going to make some 'stand for freedom'.

If people can go off the grid in some local fashion, then so what? I grew up on a farm and my dad normally used fire wood. There maybe alot of annimosity towards utility companys and their involment with governemt but this isn't something that will cause numbers in the million to move to some system of freedom with respect to other issues.

So there are 2 quick examples of manybe more than half a dozen type of project ideas I've come across.

What if a member of the Citadel refuses to have their kids trained or want a reliable power source? Their only governing resort would be to write some sort of law against it or claim the person agreed to live here.




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Post 19

Wednesday, October 16 - 4:18pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,
Given that self maintenance of an individual through the infinite future is futile, reproduction success is the core goal/value of all life forms (including humans). Self maintenance is a secondary goal in order to exist long enough to make copies (children).
That is saying that because an individual can not live for an infinite period of time, we can only have success by adopting reproduction as our core value. I reject that. That is making individuals into breeding machines who serve the ends of society/philosophy. An individual's happiness should be their major long term goal and having children, or not, should only be considered for the happiness it will bring the individual. Anything else is NOT Objectivism. Objectivism is not pro-reproduction or anti-reproduction. It is pro-happiness for the individual.




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