Tax Man Cometh, Earners Leaveth? Two-Thirds of Brits With £1 Million or More Annual Income Disappear From Britain After Tax Increase

800px-Pieter_Brueghel_the_Younger,_'Paying_the_Tax_(The_Tax_Collector)'_oil_on_panel,_1620-1640._USC_Fisher_Museum_of_ArtWe previously discussed the exodus from France of top earners after the imposition of a confiscatory 75% tax rate. Now England is facing the same shift, according to a new report. More than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million during 2009-10. That number fell to just 6,000 this year. This appears to be a combination of people leaving Britain and concerted efforts to avoid income.

We continue to disagree on this blog on tax policy. I opposed the moves in France and England as economically unwise. I also oppose aspects of the Obama plan, though I agree with the need to increase revenue. I believe both Obama and Congress have been incredibly reckless with their budgets and continue to spend wildly without any sense of priority in spending.

Cities like New York also report declines in top earner following heavy tax bills.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced this year that the 50p top rate will be reduced to 45p from next April.

Source: Telegraph

547 thoughts on “Tax Man Cometh, Earners Leaveth? Two-Thirds of Brits With £1 Million or More Annual Income Disappear From Britain After Tax Increase

  1. PERSONALLY…. I think that ANYONE who leaves their home country over a tax increase. They should LOSE their citizenship….

    Mind you, I say that as a 1%’er in Sweden, one of the HIGHEST tax countries……

    The Western countries NEED to address this spoiled attitude of people who have gained MUCH from these taxes… education… safe living environment, etc…..

    Had they been born in Mexico…. or The Sudan, they would NOT have had the success that they did by living in a wealthy country…..

  2. I agree that Congess continues to spend wildly on Corporate welfare, bank bailouts and defense industry waste. However, takes rates need not be confiscatory in I order to be fair. No billionaire like MIT Romney should be able to “legally” get away with paying 14% or less as a tax rate. Corporations should also pay their fair share. While corporate tax rates in this country are allegedly high, few if any corporations ever pay taxes at those rates if they pay taxes at all.
    Did you know that many companies who enjoy multimillion if not multibillion government contracts are actually tax evaders but they never get penalized and continue to get those contracts?

    Befor we start carving on the social programs and starve the working class and the middle class it is time for people like Romney and Adelson to pay their fair share.

  3. We just need a little creative taxation. Tax all income earned within the country by anybody, foreign or domestic. If a citizen leaves the country to avoid taxes, do not let them back in, and prohibit them from doing business in the country. People will avoid taxes if there is a legal way to do it, as a lawmaker you have to assume that and write the law to ensure they have no way to avoid taxes if they use your country and your citizens and police and courts and physical infrastructure to earn their money.

    Taxation is the country’s share for the environs they provide. If the millionaires can truly get by without that in another country, that is the other country’s job to collect their rent. But any country should tax any goods or services sold within their borders or to their citizens, that also relies on the infrastructure.

  4. Justice Holmes, AGAIN… I agree with everything you said there….

    We as a WHOLE … ALL Western countries have to start working together on this… Make it so it does NOT pay for a Corporation to use a PO Box on a small island to avoid taxes….. Get Switzerland to stop sheltering the wealthy from taxes…..

    what many do not understand is that Corporate Welfare is at around
    100 billion dollars a YEAR…..
    while social Welfare is only around 60 Billion a year…..

    That is a bit out of balance….

  5. good for them. The same thing will happen in France and here in the US. People arent stupid and they will avoid taxes. So all you do when you raise taxes is reduce the amount of income to the treasury coffers.

    There is only one way out of this mess, reduce regulation and cut spending and make a favorable environment for business to expand. The only way to increase revenue is to expand the pie.

    If you make the pie big enough you can feed the people who dont want to make pie or who cannot make pie. But you have to make sure the baker gets a very large amount of the pie to make it worth his while to bake it.

    If done right, a pie increases in size with new industry and new ideas. Our national pie is not static. You increase revenue by expanding pie not by contracting pie. You need elastic pie, not static pie.

    What is wrong with increasing the number of millionaires rather than decreasing them? Why not make 30,000 millionaires and charge them less taxes? I just dont understand the thinking.

    If liberals were pig farmers they would take the fecund sows to market and keep the sows which had small litters.

  6. That 100 million dollar air complex certainly does seem reckless. But the old graduated income tax here that went up to 70 and 90% at one time for incomes over $5 million also happened to be at a time when we had our strongest stance against communism and by that token socialism.

    It seems ironic for the GOP to label Obama the socialist president when he’s asking congress to let the Bush tax cuts which have been a boon mainly to the wealthiest 2% of americans (where incomes have increased dramatically over the past 30 years: http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/wealthiest-americans-dramatically-increase-income-16296/ ) expire on incomes over $250k, so they will effectively pay 30%. Many will claim its because the numbers on food stamps and welfare have gone up, but fail to mention the recession, that neared a depression that would have put many on the streets without a safety net.

    It seems pretty reasonable at a time when the GOP seems deathly concerned about the debt suddenly, despite two wars they started with no plan of funding being major contributors, that they would ask for some revenue to help pay it down. You cant ask much more of the middle class without hurting the economy as they spend much of what they earn, and if they take home less to spend it could well contribute to another recession. We probably need to pay higher taxes too, to pay down the debt, just once the economy has recovered, but this can help stop it from sky rocketing. I’m not in favor of the wealthy going back to the pre reagan or pre nixon rates, because after all in todays global economy many would flee the US presumably taking jobs and ability to pay taxes with them, and it didn’t seem entirely fair though it was the burden many who took home less were willing to pay to take on the debt of the World Wars etc.

  7. Why should hedge fund managers and wealthy folks like Romney pay a lower tax rate than regular working folks?

    Closing The Hedge Fund Manager Tax Loophole Would Raise $4 Billion Annually From The 25 Richest Managers
    By Pat Garofalo on Jul 6, 2011
    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/07/06/261268/closing-hedge-fund-manager-loophole-billions/

    Excerpt:
    One of the tax breaks upon which President Obama has focused is a provision that allows hedge fund managers — who make billions annually — to receive a substantial tax break. This particular tax break, known as the carried-interest loophole, allows hedge fund managers to treat the money they receive from investors as capital gains, subject to a 15 percent tax rate. Though this money is a paycheck received for services, just like a movie star receiving a bonus if her movie does well, it’s treated as investment income.

    Since hedge fund managers are some of the richest people in the country, this tax break actually causes a significant loss of revenue. In fact, according to calculation by RJ Eskow, closing this loophole would raise more than $4 billion per year just from the 25 richest hedge fund managers:

    The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people — police officers, for example, or teachers — the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.

    *****

    Mitt Romney Pays a Lower Total Tax Rate Than the Average American
    09/21/2012
    Damon Silvers
    http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/Mitt-Romney-Pays-a-Lower-Total-Tax-Rate-Than-the-Average-American

  8. @Bron: What is wrong with increasing the number of millionaires rather than decreasing them?

    Nothing. But these people are already millionaires; so tax or no tax doesn’t increase the number of millionaires, does it?

    What will increase the number of millionaires is taxing the ones that already have millions, to fund schools, training, research, safety and health care for the 99% that are NOT millionaires, so that some small percentage of them can grow up to be entrepreneurs that invent, create, entertain, or otherwise earn millions.

    If your objective is to create millionaires, then every person that becomes a billionaire has sucked the profits away from 999 potential millionaires. If you do not agree with that, why is it better to have one billionaire instead of a thousand millionaires?

    If it isn’t the actual count that matters to you, aren’t you just engaged in money worship, i.e. the more money in one place the better?

  9. Simple solution for congress…. Don’t spend what you don’t have….. Income…. Minus expenses… Equal Net Income….. Now that expenses have exceeded income for years someone has to pay at sometime…. How about cutting the military, CIA budget ….. Without raising taxes…. Let the Bush tax cuts expire ….. The budget could be balanced in my lifetime at least…. I hope….

  10. tony c:

    “What will increase the number of millionaires is taxing the ones that already have millions, to fund schools, training, research, safety and health care for the 99% that are NOT millionaires,”

    Been doing that for over 50 years and we are in worse shape than we were. Time to try something else.

    You have to have ideas to feed off of, Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie made it possible for others to invent the elevator, the automatic starter, windshield wipers, directional drilling, rotating drill bits, etc.

    Profits are only sucked away in the land of static pie. In reality the pie is an expanding pie and one successful idea, such as tall buildings yield a plethora of other industries such as elevators and tower cranes.

    If you only have one billionaire, you have an economy that is not growing properly.

    Government takes the seed corn of innovation which is capital.

  11. @bron: People arent stupid and they will avoid taxes. So all you do when you raise taxes is reduce the amount of income to the treasury coffers.

    There is a very easy way to avoid taxes; reinvest your excess revenue in expanding your business. Business expenses are not taxed; the money used to buy equipment is 100% recovered by depreciation. Because of their existing assets, multi-million dollar corporations have access to a wide variety of financial instruments that allow them to avoid 100% of taxes on any money they plow back into growing their business. Buy new equipment, build a factory, hire more salespeople, spend more on advertising, hire researchers to develop new products, take out a mortgage on a building: 100% of interest expenses are tax deductible for a corporation and so is all maintenance, repair, and refurbishing.

    You say “People arent stupid and they will avoid taxes,” well, here is one way to do that: build up the business.

    You say “So all you do when you raise taxes is reduce the amount of income to the treasury coffers.”

    The government isn’t a business out to make money; so we don’t really care. Having the money spent on business growth would be a good outcome, it would improve the economy. By your own logic, one outcome of raising the tax rate on businesses, as long as we preserve our existing policy of no taxes on business expenses or expansion, would be more money pumped into the economy and the competition for sales.

    However, your statement is too absolute; that isn’t always the outcome. That should be obvious; if I start with no tax, a 0% rate, I have no money coming in; if I raise that to 1%, I have some money coming in. The point of the Laffer curve was that there was a peak income, an ideal rate at which government income would be maximized; and obviously below that peak income, raising the tax rate would raise the amount of money coming in to the government coffers.

    I think the Laffer curve is probably some approximation of the truth but also immaterial; the job of the government should not be to maximize its income, but to maximize the well being of their citizens. If a confiscatory rate encourages 2/3 of millionaires to grow their business instead of realizing profits, that is less money in for the government but more good delivered to the citizens by a more robust economy.

    The government is not a business trying to earn a profit, taxation exists to cover the expenses of the government programs and services that the majority demands and no more; nobody needs to get rich or enjoy profits because of those programs. Laffer makes the mistake of thinking of the government as a business; but peak income for the government is not the goal; the goal is a higher standard of living for the typical citizens they serve, and that does not have to be funded by the government at all. Tax policy can be used to encourage the wealthy to use more of their money in entrepreneurial exercise instead of just accumulating it and sitting on it, effectively removing it from circulation and starving the economy.

  12. “People will avoid taxes if there is a legal way to do it, as a lawmaker you have to assume that and write the law to ensure they have no way to avoid taxes if they use your country and your citizens and police and courts and physical infrastructure to earn their money.” (Tony C)

    Common sense is never out of style.

    I also like what Justice Holmes had to say.

    Stewardship is the name of the game and Washington needs to get a handle on and manage this nation’s resources (which includes tax dollars) in a manner that embodies responsible stewardship.

  13. Yes, good for them! They took advantage of the education and social services and health care provided by those too stupid or poor to avoid paying taxes. They (if they are like America’s rich) largely made their fortune off of dad or granddads fortune & received exemplary services from the government. Now, if that can just avoid paying back a tiny share of their good fortune they can ensure that those left behind cannot build a ladder that might get them up the hill even a little farther.

    They shall truly be kings and all you peasants should be grateful for the crumbs that might fall off their tables. If you have no crumbs? Well then just eat the cake!

  14. http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/120312-635476-tax-hikes-on-wealthy-americans-wont-make-a-dent-in-deficits.htm?p=full

    “A key lie that has been repeated over and over, largely unanswered, is that President Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” cost the government so much lost tax revenue that this added to the budget deficit — so that the government cannot afford to allow the cost of letting the Bush tax rates continue for “the rich.”

    It sounds very plausible, and constant repetition without a challenge may well be enough to convince the voting public that, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives does not go along with Barack Obama’s demands for more spending and higher tax rates on the top 2%, it just shows that they care more for “the rich” than for the other 98%.

    What is remarkable is how easy it is to show how completely false Obama’s argument is. That also makes it completely inexplicable why the Republicans have not done so.

    The official statistics which show plainly how wrong Barack Obama is can be found in his own “Economic Report of the President” for 2012, on Page 411. You can look it up. You may be able to find a copy of the report at your local public library. Or you can buy a hard copy from the Government Printing Office or download an electronic version from the Internet.

    For those who find that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” they need only see the graphs published in Monday’s issue of Investor’s Business Daily and its Investors.com.

    What both the statistical tables in the “Economic Report of the President” and the graphs in IBD show is that (1) tax revenues went up — not down — after tax rates were cut during the Bush administration, and (2) the budget deficit declined, year after year, after the cut in tax rates that have been blamed by Obama for increasing the deficit.

    Indeed, the New York Times reported in 2006: “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year.”

    While the New York Times may not have expected this, there is nothing unprecedented about lower tax rates leading to higher tax revenues, despite automatic assumptions by many in the media and elsewhere that tax rates and tax revenues automatically move in the same direction. They do not.

    The Congressional Budget Office has been embarrassed repeatedly by making projections based on the assumption that tax revenues and tax rates move in the same direction.

    This has happened as recently as the George W. Bush administration and as far back as the Reagan administration.

    Moreover, tax revenues went up when tax rates went down, as far back as the Coolidge administration, before there was a Congressional Budget Office to make false predictions.”

    Dont you just love Thomas Sowell.

  15. mespo:

    how much tax is enough? you are a “rich” lawyer, how much is fair? 70%, 60%, 50%, 25% of your income?

    Taxing the rich another 25 or 50% isnt going to eliminate or make any real dent in the deficit.

    What is the problem with expanding the pie and helping everyone make more money?

    I think envy has taken over our culture, we used to think we could become rich, now we want everyone to be poor. WTF is that all about?

  16. @Bron: Been doing that for over 50 years and we are in worse shape than we were.

    That is just a lie, now you are just making stuff up because reality does not support your worship of selfishness. We have been doing it, more or less, since The New Deal; and we were better off because of it, but as the forces of greed retook the economy with Bill Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagal act as he was leaving office, combined with outright corruption and self-dealing by Congress under Bush and Obama, things have been getting worse.

  17. Most republicans signed the Grover Norquist pledge and so far they are not willing to compromise so let the Bush tax cuts expire.

  18. Year Revenues Spending
    2005 2.152 2.472
    2006 2.406 2.655
    2007 2.568 2.728
    2008 2.524 2.982
    2009 2.105 3.517
    2010 2.162 3.456
    2011 2.303 3.603

    Note there is $2.3 trillion of federal revenue. Tax revenues hit a bump but generally have been increasing and are up 10% since 2005. It is spending and clearly spending that is WAY out of control – up 50% since 2005. 50% in 6 years – just imagine how massively underfunded the federal govt was in 2005!

    The “fair” and responsible action for govt is to stay within $2,300,000,000,000 or so that they collect in taxes. And an already increasing amount. Note this does not count local and state taxes – only federal.

  19. Tony has it right. All the talk of eliminating deductions has it backward. Carefully craft deductions so that it encourages reinvestment into the industrial base of the country. Here is an example. When the deductions for luxury cars, boats and airplanes was eliminated, it had a negative impact on those industries. Beechcraft alone laid off 15,000 workers on the BeechJet assembly line and orders were cancelled left and right. Companies that built yachts were hit with layoffs as well as those orders cancelled. The IRS decided that any car costing more than $12,000 was a “luxury car” and the excess over that could not be deducted as a business expense. Guess what happened at Cadillac and Lincoln plants?

    Give extra tax credits for “Made in America.”

  20. Want to know how we really reached this point. Read it and weep.

    “It started in 2001, when the government was running its fourth straight year of surplus and President George W. Bush moved to cut taxes as he’d promised in his campaign. He faced a serious hurdle, a Senate split 50-50, far short of the 60 votes needed to clear Senate rules and enact his sweeping tax reduction.

    There was a way out, but it was a tactic that the staid Senate was reluctant to use, called reconciliation.

    Created to make it easier to deal with budgets, it also became a tool for skirting the 60-vote threshold since only 51 votes were needed. There was a major catch: Any such bill could only make changes in federal revenue for a maximum of 10 years.

    With support from some Democrats, the Bush tax cuts passed the Senate with 58 votes. They were temporary.

    The precedent was set, and when Bush came back with a new, more controversial round of cuts in 2003, the Republicans used the reconciliation rule again. This time, the bill passed with 51 votes, as Vice President Dick Cheney broke a 50-50 tie.

    In May 2001, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was confident the cuts would be extended forever. “To do anything other than that is to raise taxes on the American people,” he said.

    Republicans miscalculated.

    The tax cuts contributed to a decade of record deficits and debt, aided by rising spending on a new Medicare benefit and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The national debt, $5.7 trillion when Bush took office in January 2001, had grown to $10.6 trillion by the time he left eight years later. It grew more under Obama.

    “Republicans set up the deadlines feeling voters would move in their direction. But in the last election, they didn’t move in that direction,” said Steven Schier, an author of books on budget politics and a political scientist at Carleton College in Minnesota. … ”

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/11/29/175922/fiscal-cliff-crisis-made-in-the.html#storylink=misearch

    (once again, thank you eniobob)

  21. The Hollowing Out of America
    Steve Fraser
    December 3, 2012
    http://www.thenation.com/article/171563/hollowing-out-america

    Excerpt:
    “Debtpocalypse” looms. Depending on who wins out in Washington, we’re told, we will either free fall over the fiscal cliff or take a terrifying slide to the pit at the bottom. Grim as these scenarios might seem, there is something confected about the mise-en-scène, like an un-fun Playland. After all, there is no fiscal cliff, or at least there was none—until the two parties built it.

    And yet the pit exists. It goes by the name of “austerity.” However, it didn’t just appear in time for the last election season or the lame-duck session of Congress to follow. It was dug more than a generation ago, and has been getting wider and deeper ever since. Millions of people have long made it their home. “Debtpocalypse” is merely the latest installment in a tragic, forty-year story of the dispossession of American working people.

    Think of it as the archeology of decline, or a tale of two worlds. As a long generation of austerity politics hollowed out the heartland, the quants and traders and financial wizards of Wall Street gobbled up ever more of the nation’s resources. It was another Great Migration—instead of people, though, trillions of dollars were being sucked out of industrial America and turned into “financial instruments” and new, exotic forms of wealth. If blue-collar Americans were the particular victims here, then high finance is what consumed them. Now, it promises to consume the rest of us.

    Scenes from the Museum

    In the mid-1970s, Hugh Carey, then governor of New York, was already noting the hollowing out of his part of America. New York City, after all, was threatening to go bankrupt. Plenty of other cities and states across what was then known as the “Frost Belt” were in similar shape. Yankeedom, in Carey’s words, was turning into “a great national museum” where tourists could visit “the great railroad stations where the trains used to run.”

    As it happened, the tourists weren’t interested. Abandoned railroad stations might be fetching in an eerie sort of way, but the rest of the museum was filled with artifacts of recent ruination that were too depressing to be entertaining. True, a century earlier, during the first Gilded Age, the upper crust used to amuse itself by taking guided tours of the urban demi-monde, thrilling to sites of exotic depravity or ethnic strangeness. They traipsed around “rag-pickers alley” on New York’s Lower East Side or the opium dens of Chinatown, or ghoulishly watched poor children salivate over toys in store window displays they could never hope to touch.

    Times have changed. The preference now is to entirely remove the unsightly. Nonetheless, the national museum of industrial homicide has, city by city, decade by decade, grown more grotesque.

    Camden, New Jersey, for example, had long been a robust, diversified small industrial city. By the early 1970s, however, its reform mayor Angelo Errichetti was describing it this way:

    It looked like the Vietcong had bombed us to get even. The pride of Camden…was now a rat-infested skeleton of yesterday, a visible obscenity of urban decay. The years of neglect, slumlord exploitation, tenant abuse, government bungling, indecisive and short-sighted policy had transformed the city’s housing, business, and industrial stock into a ravaged, rat-infested cancer on a sick, old industrial city.

    That was forty years ago and yet, today, news stories are still being written about Camden’s never-ending decline into some bottomless abyss. Consider that a measure of how long it takes to shut down a way of life.

  22. I think envy has taken over our culture, we used to think we could become rich, now we want everyone to be poor. WTF is that all about?

    —————————–

    Bron….

    My household is in the 1%…
    Living in Sweden we pay around 55% income taxes….

    we also pay around 24% VAT…..

    I can tell you RIGHT now that if we were taxed a little more… it is NOT going to suddenly make us poor…

    Making Romney pay 30% instead of the 15% he pays now, is NOT going to make him poor…..

    HOWEVER, If we start cutting social services…. that WILL have a VERY negative impact on the poorer families….

    Now… ONE thing you may not know… When you get into the REALLY wealthy range…. The MORE you make… the MORE you get for FREE….
    Of course I am NOT in that range… HOWEVER, I have a LOT of friends in the USA who are…. and it ALWAYS amazes me how much the wealthy get, and never have to pay for….. Comped dinners at fine restaurants just for being RICH… NOTHING MORE….
    Comped hotel suites… Cars… clothing…..
    and yet, YOU do NOT want to ask these people to pay a BIT more in taxes….

    Like Tony said, higher taxes creates a stronger economy…
    People invest in businesses rather than just sit on the profits….

  23. Justagal:

    I dont care about the rich, as you say they can take care of themselves.

    But you need people who know how to grow a business and those people dont grow on trees. Make it easier for people to become rich and grow the economy.

  24. if higher taxes created a strong economy we would be humming along on both burners.

    Reduce spending year 2001 levels. that will grow the economy

  25. But you need people who know how to grow a business and those people dont grow on trees. Make it easier for people to become rich and grow the economy.

    ———————————-

    Did you know that even with Sweden’s high taxes we recovered faster from the world recession???

    Do you think that if taxes are raised that people will suddenly think… “ahhh Screw it… I have a GREAT business idea, BUT, I hate taxes, so I am not going to try…. ”

    NOT ONE Successful Entrepreneur ever decided NOT to start a business based on what the TAXES were in a country…..

  26. People voting with their walking shoes. Whether others consider it fair or not each individual is going to decide what is best for themselves. If the politicians and other activists declare that people who move to other countries are traitors or whatever when they leave to avoid punative tax assessments they are not addressing the true issue. That is people act in their own self interest.

    It is no different than when people decide to shop at another grocery store because the prices went up. Call them snobs or subversives all you like, they are going to do what is best for themselves. A business should not expect to double their prices and retain all of their customers thereafter. A government doubling the taxes on businessess or individuals cannot expect that it will not see them leave. It can call them whatever name they want and it will be ingnored as the citizens or businesses walk out the door.

  27. Reduce spending year 2001 levels. that will grow the economy

    ———————

    You fail to remember that we are in WARS now that we were NOT fighting in 2001…..

    also….

    How is it that if you cut spending, that it will suddenly create JOBS, when fact is the Government will have to CUT certain jobs?????

  28. It is no different than when people decide to shop at another grocery store because the prices went up. Call them snobs or subversives all you like, they are going to do what is best for themselves.

    —————————

    Moving to a new country from the USA is NOT the same as changing your grocery store…..

    Fact is…. people will do what they can get away with LEGALLY….

    YOU REALLY think that people are going to leave in DROVES over 35% in taxes????

    Where will they MOVE????

    NOT Europe, that is for SURE…. cuz Europe has higher taxes….

    many seem to think that people ONLY care about money….

    It would shock you to know that if my family moved to the USA, not ONLY would our taxes be MUCH lower…. BUT, we would also be making about 10 times what we make here in Sweden…..
    YET, WE are not willing to sacrifice the safety and security of Sweden, for more money….

  29. Arguments about tax rates come from a fundamental difference in governmental principles.
    Those who believe the govt owes us the fundamentals of life, believe that the GDP is a shared resource, and have no problem saying some people make too much money, and their resources should be forcibly shared with those who make too little money.

    Others who believe our collective GDP is made up of individuals who earn and then share their wealth voluntarily, believe we have no moral grounds to simply take from them to give to others.

  30. Folks weep and whine too much about having to pay for participation in a costly enterprise: civilization. Just do it!

  31. “More than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million during 2009-10. That number fell to just 6,000 this year. This appears to be a combination of people leaving Britain and concerted efforts to avoid income.

    I would like to know if the “appears to be” is the reality.

    At least before advocating a solution. Assuming a solution is needed that is.

    Then it would be wise to discern the nature of England’s economic structure so as to ascertain if it is a plutocracy or some other structure.

    If it’s “economy” is actually a plutonomy, like the U.S., then the dynamics of plutonomy are at issue.

    Therefore using solutions that work on a plutonomy would be fitting.

    The dynamics of taxation as a solution to the U.S. plutonomy are simply too anaemic to play out alone as a solution.

    Many additional solutions, such as widespread and strong unions, will have to be brought back and implemented to change the nature of our plutocracy back into a middle class driven economy.

    I am uncertain of the proper dynamic solution for England.

  32. Malisha,

    I’m sick of the ultra-wealthy whiners–especially the multi-millionaires of Wall Street who tanked the economy and were bailed out by the rest of us.

  33. CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks
    By Ryan Grim & Christina Wilkie
    Posted: 11/25/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/25/deficit-reduction-council-fiscal-cliff_n_2185585.html

    Excerpt:
    WASHINGTON — The corporate CEOs who have made a high-profile foray into deficit negotiations have themselves been substantially responsible for the size of the deficit they now want closed.

    The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies’ tax bills.

    The CEOs are part of a campaign run by the Peter Peterson-backed Center for a Responsible Federal Budget, which plans to spend at least $30 million pushing for a deficit reduction deal in the lame-duck session and beyond.

    During the past few days, CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council — most visibly, Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell’s David Cote — have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.

    As part of their push, they are advocating a “territorial tax system” that would exempt their companies’ foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks” — money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit.

    Yet the CEOs are not offering to forgo federal money or pay a higher tax rate, on their personal income or corporate profits. Instead, council recommendations include cutting “entitlement” programs, as well as what they call “low-priority spending.”

    Many of the companies recommending austerity would be out of business without the heavy federal support they get, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which both received billions in direct bailout cash, plus billions more indirectly through AIG and other companies taxpayers rescued.

  34. Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
    Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.
    By Joseph E. Stiglitz
    Vanity Fair
    May 2011
    http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

    Excerpt:
    It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

    Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.

    Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

    First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

    Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

    None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

    Economists are not sure how to fully explain the growing inequality in America. The ordinary dynamics of supply and demand have certainly played a role: laborsaving technologies have reduced the demand for many “good” middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Globalization has created a worldwide marketplace, pitting expensive unskilled workers in America against cheap unskilled workers overseas. Social changes have also played a role—for instance, the decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now represent about 12 percent.

    But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. Monopolies and near monopolies have always been a source of economic power—from John D. Rockefeller at the beginning of the last century to Bill Gates at the end. Lax enforcement of anti-trust laws, especially during Republican administrations, has been a godsend to the top 1 percent. Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest.

  35. When I operated my biz I went from the Clinton tax structure to the Bush cuts. I was NOT WEALTHY. However, I was above the 250k cutoff. My business was able to invest and employ more people w/ the tax cut. The people most hurt by this tax increase will be small business people just above the 250k limit. The result, they won’t be able to hire. The “eat the rich” feeding frenzy here is so counterproductive to what this country desperately needs, that being jobs. A small biz over the 250k mark ARE NOT RICH and they are the backbone of this country. This is insane.

  36. A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy

    By WARREN E. BUFFETT
    Published: November 25, 2012

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/buffett-a-minimum-tax-for-the-wealthy.html

    SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

    Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.

    Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent — and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.

    Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground.

    So let’s forget about the rich and ultrarich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if — gasp — capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased. The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities.

    And, wow, do we have plenty to invest. The Forbes 400, the wealthiest individuals in America, hit a new group record for wealth this year: $1.7 trillion. That’s more than five times the $300 billion total in 1992. In recent years, my gang has been leaving the middle class in the dust.

    A huge tail wind from tax cuts has pushed us along. In 1992, the tax paid by the 400 highest incomes in the United States (a different universe from the Forbes list) averaged 26.4 percent of adjusted gross income. In 2009, the most recent year reported, the rate was 19.9 percent. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

    The group’s average income in 2009 was $202 million — which works out to a “wage” of $97,000 per hour, based on a 40-hour workweek. (I’m assuming they’re paid during lunch hours.) Yet more than a quarter of these ultrawealthy paid less than 15 percent of their take in combined federal income and payroll taxes. Half of this crew paid less than 20 percent. And — brace yourself — a few actually paid nothing.

    This outrage points to the necessity for more than a simple revision in upper-end tax rates, though that’s the place to start. I support President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers. However, I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000 — maybe $500,000 or so.

    Additionally, we need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy.

    Above all, we should not postpone these changes in the name of “reforming” the tax code. True, changes are badly needed. We need to get rid of arrangements like “carried interest” that enable income from labor to be magically converted into capital gains. And it’s sickening that a Cayman Islands mail drop can be central to tax maneuvering by wealthy individuals and corporations.

    But the reform of such complexities should not promote delay in our correcting simple and expensive inequities. We can’t let those who want to protect the privileged get away with insisting that we do nothing until we can do everything.

    Our government’s goal should be to bring in revenues of 18.5 percent of G.D.P. and spend about 21 percent of G.D.P. — levels that have been attained over extended periods in the past and can clearly be reached again. As the math makes clear, this won’t stem our budget deficits; in fact, it will continue them. But assuming even conservative projections about inflation and economic growth, this ratio of revenue to spending will keep America’s debt stable in relation to the country’s economic output.

    In the last fiscal year, we were far away from this fiscal balance — bringing in 15.5 percent of G.D.P. in revenue and spending 22.4 percent. Correcting our course will require major concessions by both Republicans and Democrats.

    All of America is waiting for Congress to offer a realistic and concrete plan for getting back to this fiscally sound path. Nothing less is acceptable.

    In the meantime, maybe you’ll run into someone with a terrific investment idea, who won’t go forward with it because of the tax he would owe when it succeeds. Send him my way. Let me unburden him.

    Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

  37. @Bron: But you need people who know how to grow a business and those people dont grow on trees.

    You imply they are rare flowers, and they are not at all. Growing a business is not some mystical magical talent only a few are gifted with. All the basics have been known for a century, so much so that they teach them; that is the point of an MBA.

    There is no magic to the management. The magic of bigger business is just the magic of true invention. Car companies are big because of the inventions of Ford and others; so are oil companies, along with the invention of refinement.

    Some inventions (like the invention of farming, or the internal combustion engine, or the steam engine or transistor or computer) have effectively infinite value. The only thing that ends their value is the invention of something even better. That is because the definition of a useful invention is that it solves a problem at some kind of “profit” forever. The profit may be saved time, increased energy, longer life, more safety, whatever; the invention of farming provided a greater level of food security with less effort than we ever enjoyed prior to that invention; it has been more “profitable” than hunting and gathering for ten thousand years, and will always be.

    Managing a farm doesn’t take genius, once they learn the basics of farming. Inventing the farm took a genius; but all the value was inherent in that spark of insight and inspiration. It grew because it worked.

    The same thing is true for companies; unless they are managed by idiots they will grow because the invention they are selling works. Sometimes the invention works so well they will grow despite being managed by idiots.

  38. JAG, I was an S Corporation which meant my salary, profits, and my wife’s salary put us way over. Just my salary and profits usually put me over, depending on the year. But w/ my wife’s salary we were ALWAYS over. And, many, if not most, small biz use the S Corp. What the tax cuts also did was allow me to fully deduct any expenditures like vehicles. So, I had to buy vans for surveillance and I would pay cash @ the end of the year[best time to buy a vehicle] which helped another small business car dealer. This is not complicated if you put aside the class envy. The Obama administration has the smallest % of private sector people than ANY other. This is the problem.

  39. The wealthy have had their tax break for a decade. Why hasn’t the economy improved? Why is there less manufacturing here in the US now? Who are rich guys who invested their money in this country? What did all those rich people do with the money they saved in taxes? It appears some of them spent it on trying to elect Congressmen and women and a president who would do their bidding. Sherman Adelson is said to have spent $150,000,000 on the 2012 election. The Kochs spent hundreds of millions. One would think their money could have been put to better use.

  40. The 0.1%ers are baking fecund pies. They share them with their fecund friends, store them in their fecund offshore bank accounts. Invest them with their fecund financial Wall st wizards.
    Like professional jugglers they are able to keep them all in the air at the same time. Occasionally one may make it to the table of the US economy, thank you so much wizards.
    Trickle down is the same as crumb down.
    The Butchers, The Bakers, and The Derivatives Makers, sail their money out to sea. Floating in their tub all three, hoard the wealth from the People WE.

    Bron the plutocrats control the money now. They will never willingly give it up. They got it now, they plan to keep it now. A dynamic fair democratic capitalist system would inspire a constant circulation of wealth. Up then Down, then Up then Down. The 0.1%ers will still maintain advantage and a structure that games the system in their favor, but a circulation of wealth will make them work harder for it. The playing field will be more balanced and the meritorious dust covered upper crust of the fecund pie may crumble to the table. Much of the wealth in the world is owned controlled and retained within walls thick with aristocratic privilege and barren of productive investment.

    I am Rich, Therefore I am Rich, …. Eff You Serferman.

    PS. my apology to orolee per the comment about isms. I in this case could not find the fortitude to use serferpeople, my dust and license choose serferman.

  41. This is not complicated if you put aside the class envy
    ———————————–

    was that meant as a JOKE????

    As, it is PRETTY clear I do NOT have any class envy….
    NOR do the Gates family… NOR does Buffet….
    NOR do most Hollywood stars whom are quite liberal….

    MOST of the people I have heard talking about this, are people who are
    QUITE wealthy…..
    in fact, I have YET to hear any welfare recipients in an interview state that they feel that the rich should pay more in taxes…..

    So, CLEARLY…. this is NOT the class envy you are making it out to be…..

  42. Elaine, Chrissake, just give a number, not a link, not a polemic..just a number! Hardly a tough assignment. I’m not busting balls. “Wealthy” is a very subjective term. I would like an objective number..that’s all.

  43. Growing Income Gap May Leave U.S. Vulnerable
    By David J. Lynch – Oct 13, 2011
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-13/growing-income-divide-may-increase-u-s-vulnerability-to-financial-crises.html

    Excerpt:
    A widening gap between rich and poor is reshaping the U.S. economy, leaving it more vulnerable to recurring financial crises and less likely to generate enduring expansions.

    Left unchecked, the decades-long trend toward increasing inequality may condemn Wall Street to a generation of unimpressive returns and even shake social stability, economists and financial-industry executives say.

    “Income inequality in this country is just getting worse and worse and worse,” James Chanos, president and founder of New York-based Kynikos Associates Ltd., told Bloomberg Radio this week. “And that is not a recipe for stable economic growth when the rich are getting richer and everybody else is being left behind.”

    Since 1980, about 5 percent of annual national income has shifted from the middle class to the nation’s richest households. That means the wealthiest 5,934 households last year enjoyed an additional $650 billion — about $109 million apiece — beyond what they would have had if the economic pie had been divided as it was in 1980, according to Census Bureau data.

  44. “When someone works for less pay than she can live on – when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently – then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The “working poor”, as there are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.”

    – Barbara Ehrenreich, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America”

    The rich not only need to pay more taxes, they need to give average workers a raise. We all subsidize cheap labor for Walmart et al with public assistance dollars. Why should we do this?

    If the rich do not want to pay their fair share, either in taxes or a living wage for employees, I say “good riddance”.

    In American, someone else from the middle class will rise up to take their place. We forget the vast majority of entrepreneurs come from the middle class. The rich would like to keep their monopolies and destroy the Golden Goose.
    Only around 1% of the ultra rich and 1% of the poor become entrepreneurs in America. Our continued wealth creation is determined by the middle class.

  45. “I think the Laffer curve is probably some approximation of the truth but also immaterial; the job of the government should not be to maximize its income, but to maximize the well being of their citizens. If a confiscatory rate encourages 2/3 of millionaires to grow their business instead of realizing profits, that is less money in for the government but more good delivered to the citizens by a more robust economy.” – TonyC.

    I agree that your scenario provides more good delivered to the citizens, but it’s not clear to me that there is less money for the government. While the businesses or their owners may pay less taxes, when these businesses are grown more people realize the additional benefits of more jobs and better pay which leads to more taxes being paid from the middle and bottom. It would also lead to a diminishing of the wealth gap, a good think imo.

  46. “Elizabeth Warren wins banking committee seat.” (SwM)

    And then there’s that something that money can’t buy!

    Love it … she’s got more power over the banks with this seat than she ever would have had with a mere chairmanship on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    I wonder if these bankers and Wall Street pimps really understand how despised they are?

  47. @bettykath: True, there are domino effects that might result in more taxes being paid. I am not sure of that, though, because dominos are falling in the other direction too: More jobs (either through direct employment by a reinvesting business owner, or as a result of a reinvesting business owner paying for goods and services needed for expansion) should result in a lessened demand for government welfare assistance in housing, food and health care, and a lessened demand for unemployment insurance. Studies show crime increases as unemployment worsens, because although some people will work if they can, when they can’t they will risk crime before they go bankrupt. Thus more employment plausibly means less crime, and less pressure on tax-funded police and prisons.

    So it may be what is called a “virtuous cycle;” by using taxes to make reinvestment a more palatable risk than just realizing profits and paying a token percentage, we create a higher employment rate, therefore greater self-sufficiency and a lessened demand for governmental relief, police and prisons; thus less need to tax us. Or more opportunity for government investment in infrastructure, schooling and research for the public domain, which would also feed into the virtuous cycle.

  48. Blouise,

    “I wonder if these bankers and Wall Street pimps really understand how despised they are?”

    I don’t think they give a damn how the “unwashed masses” feel about them. They’re greedy, self-absorbed sociopaths.

  49. Justagrrrrlfromseattle:

    Please don’t take what I said about people choosing to leave a country due to tax liability as me being supportive of unbridled capitalism. I was just pointing out what can happen. Governments should recognize these things before instigating tax policy. I still hold to the belief that excessive taxation, especially if it is applied only to certain industries and not all, can kill that industry in the locality if other localities are nearby that offer lower tax that factors into a lower cost basis for that industry.

    Sweden certainly is not a country that is in a depression due to its tax schemes. I’ve only been to Sweden twice (Malmö in 1984 and 1999) I thought it was a fine country. I have been to other countries that had less taxation rates and there was much poverty. And been to others that had comparatively low taxes and the standard of living was generally well.

    It in my view is generally related to good governance and an enlightened society more than what the tax rate is.

  50. nick,

    I wasn’t responding to your order when I left that link. If I had been, I would have addressed the comment to you.

    I’ll just say to you what I’ve heard little children say to each other when one kid tries to order another kid around: “You’re not the boss of me!”

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

  51. Stop spending money on: corporate welfare; tax breaks for fund managers and the like; increase collection of taxes from corporations; stop privatizing government functions like prisons and schools; stop financing wars or giving money to defend countries like Saudi Arabia; stop paying for weapons that will be used to kill our own soldiers.
    Tax: speculators in oils and other commodities; computerized traders who do nothing but roil the market; all companies who outsource production of goods to be sold in the US; all companies who export jobs; place a sur tax on all American citizens and resident aliens who keep money in off shore accounts unless they declare and pay taxes thereon.

    No longer: allow any individual or corporation to bid on a government contract who or which has not paid its taxes or has not filed and paid taxes in the last three years; don’t allow any Senator or representative who opposes universal health care to take advantage of any health care services or health care insurance paid for and/ or provided by the government; allow any one who has not paid their duely owed federal and state taxes to run for any office ( if a poor person who does not owe any taxes wants to run that is fine; however if you owe them you have to file and pay.)

    Require: all oil companies to actually pay for each and every oil or natural gas lease a going rate on time or be shut down with all mechanicals and fixtures going to the next bidder; all corporations to carry all costs of doing business including without limitation no tax deductions for payments of damages or clean up costs. This would mean if you lose you don’t get bailed out and that you must pay your employees a living wage.

    This would be a good start!

  52. “Whenever you see some business person quoted complaining about how he or she can’t find workers with the necessary skills, ask what wage they are offering.

    Almost always, it turns out that what said business person really wants is highly (and expensively) educated workers at a manual-labor wage. No wonder they come up short.”

    Krugman, “The Fake Skills Shortage”

  53. shano,

    Krugman is right. My husband never had any trouble finding good employees to work for him because he paid them a decent wage and also provided them with excellent health care coverage. He respected his workers, listened to them when they had problems at work or ideas, and involved them in company discussions. Some of his employees even brought family members and friends into the business because the working conditions were so good.

  54. shano:

    I would like to see some figures on that assertion. Especially if little green men from Mars Krugman says it is true.

  55. Buffett has it right. A good business investment returns a profit on your money; often 20%, 40%, sometimes 100%. All you EVER pay income tax on is the profit; and the tax is never ALL of it, so you come out ahead whether the tax rate is 15% or 30%.

    Refusing to participate means exactly what Buffett says; you are throwing money away to spite the government. As dramatic as going Galt may sound, business people do not think that emotionally when it comes to money, they will not give up their income out of pique.

    Taxes are an expense, business people will try to minimize them like any other expense, but they are just an expense. The alternative to investing is sitting on your money and watching the inflation moths erode it away.

    You don’t throw away a 20% return on your money because you think it should be a 30% return, when the only alternative is a 1/4 of 1% return.

  56. it’s wrong to force low-income earners to pay for the costs of protecting the assets of the rich and fighting wars which benefit them. Therefore,

    it’s time to eliminate regressive, unfair taxes (sales, income, property) and
    unfair fees (licenses, inspection stickers. driver licenses etc.) – and this could be easily accomplished by instituting a wealth tax.

    Let the rich pay for the Coast Guard to protect their yachts, FAA services for their jets etc.

    It’s time to be fair to all.

  57. The other point about wealth in America. We just went through a massive increase in worker productivity because of computers and other modern technology.
    The rich received basically ALL the profits from this increase in worker productivity. Why didn’t workers see wages increase during this extraordinary time?
    They all had to upgrade skills but received no reward for doing so. All that money went to the top.

  58. tony c:

    what about the person who owns a house that has a capital gain of $400,000? What if they are just working stiffs who got lucky when they bought their house 30 years ago and are hoping to sell their house and retire? That extra money is going to hit them hard.

    Everyone is all bent out of shape about rich folks but what about average income earners? This is going to hurt them too. More so than the rich.

  59. Bron,

    Avoiding Capital Gains Tax When Selling Your Home: Read the Fine Print
    If you sell your home, you may exclude up to $250,000 of your capital gain from tax — or up to $500,000 for married couples.
    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/avoid-capital-gains-tax-selling-home-29901.html

    Excerpt:
    You probably know that, if you sell your home, you may exclude up to $250,000 of your capital gain from tax. For married couples filing jointly, the exclusion is $500,000. Also, unmarried people who jointly own a home and separately meet the tests described below can each exclude up to $250,000.

    The law applies to sales after May 6, 1997. To claim the whole exclusion, you must have owned and lived in your home as your principal residence an aggregate of at least two of the five years before the sale (this is called the ownership and use test). You can claim the exclusion once every two years.

    But, even if you don’t meet this test, you still may be entitled to a whole or partial tax break in certain circumstances.

  60. tony c:

    what about the person who owns a house that has a capital gain of $400,000? What if they are just working stiffs who got lucky when they bought their house 30 years ago and are hoping to sell their house and retire? That extra money is going to hit them hard.

    ————————

    I think that you also have a ONE time exemption from capital gains taxes on the sale of a house……

  61. “Hurricane Sandy, if you are poor, is the Katrina of the North. It has exposed the nation’s fragile, dilapidated and shoddy infrastructure, one that crumbles under minimal stress.

    It has highlighted the inability of utility companies, as well as state and federal agencies, to cope with the looming environmental disasters that because of the climate crisis will soon come in wave after wave.

    But, most important, it illustrates the depraved mentality of an oligarchic and corporate elite that, as conditions worsen, retreats into self-contained gated communities, guts basic services and abandons the wider population.”

    Chris Hedges

  62. @justagirl: That was Bron’s invalid argument; not mine.

    @Bron: Others responded for me…

    Besides the explicit exceptions for home sales and one-time exceptions; I believe there are alternative contractual arrangements one can make as well, that have the effect of spreading the sale income out over several years. This is the reason wealthy people consult with their CPA, tax lawyer and contract lawyer before making a big financial decision or commitment.

  63. Elaine, You have a good heart and that’s something I always remember. Regarding, “put that in your pipe aand smoke it”, I have much better products to but in my pipe. But, thanks! The “you’re not trhe boss of me” is funny. Being a libertarian, I have no desire to be the boss of you, or anyone. I merely asked you for a number, more than reasonable in this regard. You should know this is all statistical and actuarial. Who receives benefits @ what age, and who pays taxes @ what income level and rate. It’s numbers pure and simple.

    Considering your inability to give a specific number to define “wealthy” I’m having to assume you’re lockstep w/ our prez and 250k means “wealthy”. Your husband is to be applauded. Like him, and the vast majority of small biz people, we actually know all of our employees. We know their fams, we know their problems, and we take care of them. Small biz should be encouraged. The proposed tax hikes guts small biz. I think the dollar amount for tax increases should be 500k and up.

  64. Statisticians call it the laughers curve. Once taxes reach a certain point on a graph, the taxed, laughing, say “bye-bye.”

  65. nick,

    I’m not in lockstep with anyone. Actually, I think the “wealthy mark” should be raised to $500,000. In the area of the country where I live, real estate is extremely high. The cost of living is probably higher than most parts of the country too–but I haven’t researched that. I do think that people making more than a million dollars a year can afford to pay higher taxes. As I said in an earlier comment, I don’t think regular working folks should pay a higher income tax rate than wealthy hedge fund managers and ultra-rich people like Mitt Romney.

  66. Bron:

    “how much tax is enough? you are a “rich” lawyer, how much is fair? 70%, 60%, 50%, 25% of your income?”

    ************************

    “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

    No income exclusions there, eh Bron?

    And the answer is: whatever it takes.

    As I said, the patriotism of the nouveau rich is truly inspiring.

  67. Elaine, Thanks! I am heartened we are in agreement on this. There is nothing wrong w/ disagreement. It often leads to a consensus and agreement as it did here. You made a very astute observation regarding geographical differences. The northeast and Ca. are much different than the midwest, mountain west, and most of the south vis a vis cost of living. When I go to San Diego in the winter I see the much higher prices for everything compared to Wi. I have never heard anyone propose a different tax based on your zip code, but that would make sense. The fact that it makes sense means it will never happen.

  68. What Mespo said. It is amazing how the very wealthy can cry for their “entitlements” but the poor and middle class are only entitled to the their table scraps.

  69. Whenever a defender of the status quo raises “technical” points such as dollar amounts or percentages, and you allow yourself to engage them on those kinds of arguments, the NPRer wins, because the issue is no longer about an idea. And it works like a charm…for the NPR crowd.

  70. “FOWLER LEAVES WHITE HOUSE FOR JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Elizabeth Fowler is leaving the White House for a senior-level position leading “global health policy” at Johnson & Johnson’s government affairs and policy group.

    In the White House, she served as special assistant to the president for health care and economic policy and previously was deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight of the Health and Human Services Department. Fowler is the former chief health counsel and senior counsel to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and also previously worked as VP for public policy for WellPoint.”

    politico scoop telling everything you need to know about what is wrong with capital vs labor in America.

    Capital owns the American government. How does labor manage to compete with that?
    At least in Germany, corporate board of directors are required to give labor a seat at the table.

  71. Apologies for being late to the party. There is no law that prohibits one from paying more taxes than required so I would encourage you to contribute at will. Hollywood libs, please stand up and act generous.

    I have no problem supporting my country and would have no problem paying more if there were concerted effort to rid inherent waste and fraud.

    Once again the focus is Republican wealth. Can anyone say GE?
    Warren Buffett does not pay income tax, so rate increase on ordinary income does not affect him, hence his support for same. Did you not read that he requested exemption for his ‘hedgey’ from Frank/Dodd reform?
    The health care bill includes a 3.8% tax on capital gains from home sales.
    Many of those who will be affected are the elderly whose homes have appreciated over time. Few others will have significant gain.
    and the beat goes on…

    special people get special treatment, regardless of party with an R or a D.

  72. Tricksy,
    You may want to take a closer look at the capital gains tax on home sales. I believe it is for gains over $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples.

  73. hello professor jonathan thanks for every thing, amSamuelthe executive directorChrist for the childrenministryUgandameaning God called that way. i wish if you can be part of the ministry Samuel God bless

    ________________________________

  74. @Tricksy: There is no law that prohibits one from paying more taxes than required so I would encourage you to contribute at will.

    That’s what the wannabe free riders and terminally selfish always say; feel free to give me money! They will happily enjoy the protection of the police and military, happily escape the financial burdens of caring for their sick, disabled and elderly, happily drive roads and bridges in good repair, slumber in peace while the military protects them from invasion. But don’t make them pay their fair share for not living in the wild west.

    @Tricksy: I have no problem supporting my country and would have no problem paying more if there were concerted effort to rid inherent waste and fraud.

    Apparently you do have a problem, since in the previous sentence you were complaining about the cost and suggesting the rich voluntarily pay more so you could pay less.

    As for “inherent waste and fraud,” it is a part of life and isn’t as rampant as you think. Percentage wise, it is about what is found in corporations and privately run charities. Nobody has really found a way to stop it; even the Mafia and dictators that regularly employ brutality and summary execution as penalties suffer from waste and fraud within their ranks.

    That is not a reason to just forget it, we have to pursue it. Even though people are always getting away with various crimes (including theft, rape and murder) we still try to catch them and punish them.

    However, within a large organization (which a government of hundreds of millions will always be), controlling waste and fraud means implementing forms, cross-checks, protocols, signature authorities, audits, accounting, and verification systems all over the frikkin’ place. Fraud is like water, it will find every leak in a vessel, because the fraudsters will test every seam they can find, test every locked door every day, and “accidentally” make errors that are actually experiments probing for weaknesses.

    That results in bureaucracy, it costs money, and people call that waste and a bloated government. But we see that bureaucracy in every large corporation or large non-profit, in equal amounts. In truth, the more bureaucracy one sees, the less likely fraud and abuse become; the reason all large organizations have bureaucracy is because, although it does slow things down, it actually works in reducing fraud and abuse.

    Part of the perception that it is more rampant in government, I believe, is reporting bias. Fraud, waste and abuse in large corporations and charities is just less of a news story than when it occurs with tax dollars, and easier to cover up. There is no FOIA when it comes to Cisco or Microsoft or Exxon internal affairs; they settle out of court with non-disclosures for a reason. Yet we still glimpse the truth in the non-public sector when the fraud and abuse is large. It is still there. In fact it may be greater, since they routinely pay good money to keep it quiet!

  75. mespo:

    are you serious? Come on, you dont really mean what you are saying, do you?

    You do know that pledging in that sense was a voluntary action.

    And I assume you know what Jefferson had to say on the subject of taxation?

    As to an amount, I think 30% of your income to cover all taxes would be fair. I would also be in favor of removing all deductions if we could have a flat tax that covers all local, state, federal and sales taxes.

  76. Instead of using reason to produce material values, people are stealing from the most productive and claiming that the thief, govt, is productive. The concern with short-range loot is an evasion of the long-range destruction of capitalism. We’re returning to feudalism. Our culture is opposed to man’s mind.

  77. Tony, we are small business owners and we pay LOTS of taxes, unlike campaign donors in the ranks of wall street, oil barons, hollywood, or Mr. GE.

    Why not train some of the unemployed to monitor programs where waste is likely, collect data, and hand off to authorities? Why not initiate means based daycare facilities run by trained welfare recipients so low income individuals can better afford to work? There are many possibilities, but politicians need to have the issue…otherwise they may be out of a job.

    As a business we pay premiums for health insurance for 30 employees, contribute to their retirement plan, and pay well. I am offended when my president throws me into the pit of whores that he so likes to bring into focus.

    I am fortunate to know many other business owners who adhere to sane business practice and share similar philosophy, and I applaud them.

  78. Olbermann: GOP Uses ‘Small Business’ Tag To Help Save Huge Companies Billions (VIDEO)
    The Huffington Post
    William Alden First Posted: 09/23/10
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/23/olbermann-small-business_n_736418.html

    The “small” businesses that Republican lawmakers say will suffer if the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire are not so small after all, MSNBC’s “Countdown” reported Tuesday.

    Some of these businesses, which include big names in engineering and finance, are “large” in terms of revenue, payroll and distribution, but “small” in terms of ownership, the report, by David Cay Johnston and Chris Hayes, has found.

    According to the Republican tax logic, a small number of owners is the sole criterion for a “small business.” Such businesses, which according to the Joint Committee on Taxation accounted for 94 percent of all U.S. businesses in 2007, include partnerships, sole proprietorships and S corporations, a designation that allows owners to report profits and losses on their personal tax return, rather than on the company’s.

    “‘Small business’ is a brand name,” MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann said.

    The report found that businesses with billions of dollars in annual revenue fall under the small business category. Bechtel, a global engineering and construction company that is considered a “small business” under this logic, took in $31 billion last year. Ferrellgas, a propane company, earned $2 billion in revenue last year. McIlhenny, another “small business,” which makes Tabasco sauce, made $250 million in revenue in 2007.

    Other names include auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Also on the list are the collection of “small businesses” owned by the billionaire Koch Brothers, who this year tied for fifth on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans, and who were profiled last month by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker.

  79. Elaine:

    actually hedge funds perform a valuable service by hedging risk.

    Rock stars are pretty productive, their product produces employment for many people. Guitars, drums, electrical equipment, touring buses, speakers, big houses, airplanes, automobiles, the list goes on.

    They put many people to work.

  80. @Tricksy: I am not offended by anything the President says that I know doesn’t apply to me. I do not expect a man speaking to 120 million adults to load his speech up with so many qualifiers his message gets lost in the fog of exceptions. He’s lucky if he gets fifty words to make his point, that doesn’t allow much room for qualifiers and exceptions.

    We have to do some work on our side to understand the problems he is talking about and fill in the qualifiers. Taking offense is counter-productive.

  81. how much more government services does a hedge fund manager use above what an average income earner use?

    they send their children to private schools.
    They have their own retirement.
    they may use the court system more.
    Roads they use the same.
    Defense they use the same.
    fire and police they use the same or less.
    Wastewater treatment, the same.
    Stormwater management, the same or less because they can afford ponds.
    As they get older, they probably dont use medicare.

    Overall the rich are less burdensome to society than middle to lower income earners.

    Seems to me the fair thing is for people who use the most services to pay the most in fees. That is how it works at Burger King or JC Penny or H&R Block.

    The top 10-15% subsidize the rest of us in the system we have currently.

  82. So, Bron, according to your thought we should have separate treatment for the rich. But the fact that they got rich because they live in the USA. The services they do use, the courts and the legal system to enforce contracts and sales, tend to be expensive compared to the poor. Look at how much our government spends to fund the SEC and other agencies that protect the rich.

    Your theory breaks down when we look at the carbon footprint of the rich in America compared to the rest of us, people in other nations and the poor. The rich have a much larger footprint than any of us. They have huge houses, private jets, imported delicacies of all sorts from food to bathroom fixtures.

    Yes, the rich American is a major cause of global warming. All those empty high rise offices, climate controlled, that waste massive amounts of energy. The empty lawns that must be continually mowed, the empty houses maintained for a weeks vacation visit. The massive amounts of consumer goods they must have to live that lifestyle.

    They should all be paying a carbon tax as well.

  83. Bron,

    “Stormwater management, the same or less because they can afford ponds.”

    How do ponds help rid stormwater of pollutants–or reduce erosion caused by stormwater?

    I’m sure all those mega-rich folks who live in penthouse apartments have ponds on their terraces.

  84. Bron, to add to shano’s comments: The rich benefit from all the benefits given to their workers. Because the roads are 99% free, their workers do not demand more money for tolls, or more money for the extra time it would take them if there were no roads at all. Because the interstates and highways exist, their workers can live in the suburbs, where housing is cheaper, instead of living like New Yorkers in tiny apartments with high rents: The workers in New York City demand more money from employers across the board, from janitor to CEO, to cover their higher rent costs.

    Because the government provides the bulk of retiree care, the employees of the rich are not demanding more pay for their own retirement accounts. Because the government provides the bulk of police protection, the employees of the rich are not demanding higher salaries to maintain their fortresses and armaments and chip in on bodyguards for their kids. Because the government is providing free public schools, their employees are not demanding enough pay to cover private school tuitions.

    Plus the government provides all of that without a profit margin, and just looking at corporate income statements we can tell that if it were all private, we’d add 25% to 100% to the cost. The rich get a very good deal, and the only better deal is in countries that allow employees to be virtually enslaved. That is even true of a hedge fund manager that is the only employee in his S corporation; because all the money HE makes is indirect and relies on actual companies with real workers. For those companies, the profit picture would be radically different if the government did not provide so many services to citizens.

    Virtually nobody gets rich without riding on the backs of a large number of employees. It is okay with me for people to get rich that way; I am not disparaging it. Employers take risks and employees get a lesser share in return for salary security and dependability. But the employees are in the picture, a for profit employer aims for every one of them to provide more value than their pay, and the accumulation of that excess is what makes them rich. The government is doing the rich a favor by providing so many free services, it reduces their cost of employment, and shipping, it increases there selling footprint and market size, and increases the geographic ranges from which they can draw employees and receive supplies.

    The more money they make, the more they are profiting from our free infrastructure.

  85. marginal tax rate ≠ effective tax rate. Period.

    SO this is how it will play out:

    – We will end up raising the marginal tax rate on “the rich”.

    -We will develop budgets based on the anticipated new revenue from the new higher marginal rate.

    -The revenue that we anticipated will not arrive. Thus creating a big hole in our budget.

    -Some will complain that we got this big hole because “the rich” aren’t paying their fair share. Some will demand that the rates be increased further. Others will look to redefine rich to snatch more the lower rich classes.

    -to plug the budget hole taxes get raised again and now capture more citizens.

    I know this is a tough concept to grasp, but the only item in the budget that we as citizens have ANY control over is the spending part.

    Thank you Mr. Turley for the blog post. We now have another example to add to the countless others that simply raising rates does NOT mean you are raising taxes.

  86. @whomever: I know this is a tough concept to grasp, but the only item in the budget that we as citizens have ANY control over is the spending part.

    I know this other concept is hard to grasp; but the rich DO pay taxes, Romney may only pay 14%, but as he himself says, he pays what the law demands and that is all the law demands of him.

    Do you think the rich pay taxes because they WANT to pay taxes? That seems like a foolish belief to me; if they WANTED to pay taxes they wouldn’t be complaining so hard. If paying taxes was their CHOICE they wouldn’t waste their time complaining about tax policy, would they? They would just let Obama do whatever he wanted, because in the end it would be their choice, according to YOU.

    So I know this is a tough concept for you to grasp, but we citizens have authorized the government to use force, guns and prisons to collect what the rich owe us, and if Congress makes higher taxes the law, it can damn well close the loopholes, deploy the IRS and Federal Marshals, and collect them. The rich aren’t bulletproof.

  87. @Bron: Do you disagree? The law is the law; we send people to prison for tax evasion, and for some, that has to be at gunpoint. I think we have plenty of examples of rich, sociopathic free riders that would not pay a dime unless they felt forced to do it. The fact that they pay means they have no other viable choice except to pay.

  88. “Enter the 71 corporate CEOs behind the current Campaign To Fix The Debt. These are CEOs making the media rounds and spending $30 million dollars pounding the table on achieving federal deficit reduction exclusively by dismantling the social safety nets – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – while they sit on their own massive retirement funds averaging $9.1 million.
    These are the same CEOs who have contributed mightily to and benefited personally from the deficit they now want closed. Their companies have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies’ tax bills – companies like Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, AT &T and Boeing.

    And no, they are not offering to reduce their feeding at the public trough, instead they want us to turn away the poor, disabled and the vulnerable, calling government support for them “low priority spending.”

    Meanwhile, CEOs of the major fossil fuel companies have enough scientific expertise to know that their business model of extracting all the carbon they can get their hands on threatens the very survival of all of mankind, yet they are undaunted in doing exactly that. Who cares about the collapse of civilization when there are quarterly profits to be made? How are these captains of the fossil fuel industry not psychopaths?

    Psychopaths are notoriously refractory to treatment or behavioral modification, another trait they share with business and political elites. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me…They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.”

    Our nation’s responses to the climate crisis, the federal deficit, our economic stagnation and many of our other serious challenges are still being held hostage by people who manifest a detachment from reality as profound as that of schizophrenics. We are still allowing a powerful elite, who behave like psychopaths, to steer our government towards protecting their interests at the expense of everyone else. The greatest threat to the United States will never be Al Qaeda, Russia, China or Iran. It will be our failure to wrest control of public policy from the inmates of our own insane asylum.”

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13099-schizophrenics-psychopaths-holding-america-hostage

  89. Why Are 25 Hedge Fund Managers Worth 658,000 Teachers?
    By Les Leopold.Author, “The Looting of America”
    Posted: April 9, 2010
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/why-are-25-hedge-fund-man_b_531420.html

    Excerpt:
    What work do we value most?

    In 2009, the worst economic year for working people since the Great Depression, the top 25 hedge fund managers walked off with an average of $1 billion each. With the money those 25 people “earned,” we could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers. (They make about $38,000 a year, including benefits.) Those educators could have brought along over 13 million young people, assuming a class size of 20. That’s some value.

    Apparently the 25 hedge managers did something that is even more valued in our society. But how valuable was it, really? To assess that, we need to answer a few basic questions:

    1. What do hedge managers do?

    They run funds into which very rich people put money to make even more money. Hedge fund managers move the money around in very risky ways to get the most enormous yields possible. (Wealthy investors believe they are entitled to double digit and even triple digit returns.)

    Because hedge funds are considered playthings for the rich, who presumably are fully aware of all the risks, they are exempt from most financial regulations. (We’ll soon see if the financial reform bill now moving through the Senate changes this in any substantial way.)

    The wealthy will have placed an estimated $2 trillion into hedge funds by the end of this year. (That’s about $6,500 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.)

    2. Where does all that hedge fund money come from?

    It’s mostly excess cash the super-rich have in hand now that their tax rates have dramatically declined. In the 1970s the marginal rate on those with incomes above $3 million (in today’s dollars) was 70 percent. Today, the effective rate on the 400 richest Americans is 16 percent, according to the most recent IRS data.

    The wonderful thing about putting your money in a hedge fund (or managing one) is that the income you get from it is not taxed as income (say, officially at the rate of 35 percent). Instead, it is treated as a business investment, something that’s good for the economy and that we need to encourage through a low tax — a “capital gain.” The tax rate on capital gains is 15 percent. This is one reason that Warren Buffett can say that he pays a smaller percentage in taxes than his secretary…

    4. Do hedge funds create real value that is essential for our economy and our society?

    Here’s a test: Imagine what would happen if they disappeared entirely. People working at the 8,000 or so hedge funds — a relatively small number of people — would lose their jobs. But it’s unlikely that the national or world economy would suffer at all. The wealthy would simply move their money to other investments. They might even decide to make longer term investments that would be used to produce real goods and services.

    But wait, aren’t these piles of money a valuable source of funds for investment in the real economy? Don’t hedge funds make our markets work more efficiently? By betting against overvalued currencies and bogus balance sheets of toxic-chocked banks, don’t hedge funds police the bad guys? Aren’t they the essential glue for rebuilding America?

    If any of those good things happen, they’re an accidental byproduct. The real job of hedge funds is to allow very rich people to make more money as quickly as possible, preferably without tying up the cash for too long. Use hedge fund money for a leveraged buyout that can be flipped quickly for big profits? Sure. Use it to speculate on the value of currency or to make a quick dash in and out of a credit default swap? You betcha.

    If we step back and look at the big game, we can see that hedge funds are hard at work skimming profits from the financial sector, which in turn is living off the largess of the American taxpayer. It’s all part of the great financialization of the U.S. economy that began in earnest when the financial sector was deregulated in the late 1970s. Over the years, financial sector profits have risen to nearly 40 percent of all corporate profits. And sadly, it’s not because financial firms helped our economy grow. It’s because they figured out how to run a very profitable casino for the wealthy. And then hedge funds came along and figured out how to skim the skim from those casinos.

  90. CB: What exactly is a hedge fund? How is it different from a mutual fund? And what do you and other hedge fund managers do?

    Jonathan Hoenig: A hedge fund is simply a pool of money funded by profit-seeking investors and managed by a professional money manager. In that sense, it is similar to a mutual fund. But unlike a mutual fund, a hedge fund is not required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This doesn’t mean hedge funds are unregulated; far from it. The government places stringent restrictions on how hedge funds can operate. Most notably, we’re prohibited from accepting investments from “nonaccredited” individuals—meaning, those who don’t have a liquid net worth of at least $1 million or haven’t earned an income of at least $200,000 for two consecutive years. This, incidentally, is the source of the notoriously “exclusive” and “elitist” nature of hedge funds: They’re exclusive and elitist not by choice, but by government edict.

    While most people assume that hedge funds trade frequently and make big bets on financial esoterica, the truth is a hedge fund is a legal structure, not an investment technique. Some trade frequently and use leverage, others buy and hold stocks for months or years at a time.

    So while the media routinely characterize hedge funds as “risky” or “highly leveraged,” the reality is that hedge-fund strategies, just like mutual-fund strategies, run the gamut from the ultraconservative to the highly volatile. Some managers employ complex spread trades, while others simply buy and sell stocks. Just knowing someone runs a hedge fund tells you absolutely nothing about how it’s run. What matters are the strategies, positions, and discipline that the manager uses to maximize the money.

    My fund is focused on absolute return, ideally earning a profit regardless of the condition of the stock market or larger macroeconomic environment. To accomplish this, I use strategies such as selling short, trading options, commodities, currencies, and other instruments, some of which aren’t directly correlated with the stock market. My fund functions as one part of an individual’s portfolio, usually no more than 25 percent, and it has been profitable eight out of nine years, earning a total return of over 345 percent. The Dow Jones has lost 28 percent over the same period.

    CB: Hedge funds and their managers have been loudly and repeatedly condemned for having somehow caused or exacerbated the current financial crisis. Did hedge funds lead to or worsen the crisis? If so, how? If not, what do you make of such claims?

    JH: Such accusations are absurd. Hedge-fund managers have neither caused nor exacerbated the financial crisis, and they couldn’t have done so even if they had tried. These managers simply invest money for their clients. If they make good investments, their clients make money; if they make bad investments, their clients lose money.

    Moreover, hedge funds—one of the few financial industries that has not asked for and will not receive a bailout—actually helped shoulder the burden of the credit collapse. In buying and selling risky mortgages, loans, and other instruments, hedge funds substantially mitigated the crisis by adding liquidity to the marketplace and facilitating trade. Wealth creation requires investment, and the savings needed in order to make loans, finance operations, start new companies, and invest in R&D come from investors, such as hedge-fund managers, who are seeking to profit. Far from fueling the financial crisis, hedge-fund managers reduced its severity, and continue to do so, by allocating capital in accordance with the principles of economics, long-range thinking, the profit motive, and market demand. . . .

  91. CB: Could you elaborate on the role hedge funds play in the broader economy? How do their capital allocations affect, positively or negatively, the economy as a whole?

    JH: Hedge funds buy and sell stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, debt, and the like, aiming to make a profit for their investors. Fund managers monitor everything from the earnings and potential of particular businesses to the legislative activities of state and federal lawmakers, always with an eye toward determining the best place to put their clients’ money—whether to fund the buggy whip or the automobile, Google or theglobe.com, Bill Gates or Bill Ford.

    Hedge-fund managers, like all investors, allocate wealth to create more wealth. They do so by analyzing markets and placing capital in accordance with their best judgment. In a word, they do it by “speculating”—an activity that could be seen as a bad thing only by those who regard thinking, planning, and judging as bad things. In the aggregate, successful hedge funds create massive amounts of wealth by investing intelligently. This benefits their investors and spurs the economy in general.

  92. @Bron: his benefits their investors and spurs the economy in general.

    In the same way that drunk drivers and serial killers manage to open up new job opportunities, I suppose.

  93. Yea, Bron, and when a coked up hedge fund trader decides to stay up all nigh gambling on oil or corn commodities, you and I will pay.

    Bernie Sanders had a study showing that Wall Street gambling in commodities raised the price of gasoline for all of us by 30%. It also raises the price of food. They are parasites on the rest of us when they bet on certain markets.

    Why isn’t there a trading tax? It would stop most of the worst aspects of the Wall Street casino and may be the only way to slow high speed computer trading that destroys any real price discovery in the market in general.

  94. >I’m sick of the ultra-wealthy whiners–especially the multi-millionaires of Wall Street who tanked the economy and were bailed out by the rest of us.

    Trouble with slaves can be remedied by tightening their chains, not, of course, that you have the intellectual courage to admit to yourself that you regard businessmen as slaves. If businessmen are not slaves who have a duty of mindless obedience to society, then one might question the regulations that remain after “deregulation.” And that, of course, is unPC.

  95. Oh those po’ ol’ businessmen being kept from maximizing their profits by raping the environment and creating wage slaves!

    Whatever shall they do!

    Society is so unfair to demand responsibility from them for the society that they have reaped enormous benefit from!

    Mercy. I’m getting the vapors.

  96. >repeal of the Glass-Steagal

    This intellectual bloating of an immediate cause is an evasion of the vast octopus of govt controls which indirectly and more widely, caused our economic depression. The socialist Fed legally forced its counterfeit money and credit thru the financial industry and into the rest of the economy. Other govt agencies forced lenders to make unsustainable loans. Glass-Steagal or not, the socialist boom-bust cycle had to happen somehow, somewhere, somewhen. Blowing air into a balloon will expand it regardless of the extent to which its expanded parts are pinched off. And eventually, it will pop. Richard Cantillon identified this govt-caused cycle in 1755.

    Here’s a cautionary tale of a pre-Keynes Keynes:

    “John Law (baptised 21 April 1671 – 21 March 1729) was a Scottish economist who believed that money was only a means of exchange that did not constitute wealth in itself and that national wealth depended on trade. He was appointed Controller General of Finances of France under King Louis XV. In 1716 Law established the Banque Générale in France, a private bank, but three-quarters of the capital consisted of government bills and government-accepted notes, effectively making it the first central bank of the nation. He was responsible for the Mississippi Bubble and a chaotic economic collapse in France. Law would become the architect of what would later be known as “The Mississippi Bubble”; an event that would begin with the consolidation of the trading companies of Louisiana into a single monopoly (The Mississippi Company), and ended with the collapse of the Banque Generale and subsequent devaluing of The Mississippi Company’s shares.[12] The company’s shares were ultimately rendered worthless, and initially inflated speculation about their worth led to widespread financial stress, which saw Law dismissed from his post as Chief Director of the Banque Generale end of 1720. Law ultimately fled the country disguised as a woman for his own safety.[12]” WIKIPEDIA

    I await the outraged responses of fascist bootlickers, the worshippers of the state as the source of reality, knowledge, morality and wealth.

  97. Stephen, now you want to bring up the irrational market. And the phenomenon of irrational exuberance and bubbles. I will comment on one of your subjects.
    It is interesting that the 50 or so years we had Glass Steagal in place we had no bank failures. No bail outs.

    We did however, have a Savings and Loan failure- at a time when banksters actually got punished for malfeasance:

    “The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The five senators – Alan Cranston (Democrat of California), Dennis DeConcini (Democrat of Arizona), John Glenn (Democrat of Ohio), John McCain (Republican of Arizona), and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (Democrat of Michigan) – were accused of improperly intervening in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of a regulatory investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB). The FHLBB subsequently backed off taking action against Lincoln.
    Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed in 1989, at a cost of over $3 billion to the federal government. Some 23,000 Lincoln bondholders were defrauded and many investors lost their life savings. The substantial political contributions Keating had made to each of the senators, totaling $1.3 million, attracted considerable public and media attention. After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Cranston, DeConcini, and Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB’s investigation of Lincoln Savings, with Cranston receiving a formal reprimand. Senators Glenn and McCain were cleared of having acted improperly but were criticized for having exercised “poor judgment”.

  98. Transcript from Elaines ¥ouTube:

    “Somebody handed me a copy of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and it was so much easier to read and understand compared to Kant or Plato, it changed my life!”

  99. @Stephen: If there was any point in that tinfoil hat rant, I missed it. But carry on in your ridiculous fantasy world. I wonder what you get out of that fantasy. Not a drop of it will ever come to pass, all you will ever be is frustrated and angry that so few people see the world through your cracked lens. Is the frustration and anger actually the reward? Does that make you feel righteous or powerful? Or are you just so captivated by your psychopathic greed fantasy that you would rather be miserable than let it go?

  100. @shano: I was under the impression the Savings and Loan scandal happened precisely because Glass-Steagal applied to banks, and NOT savings and loans; so the latter was engaged in risky investments (like the banks before Glass-Steagal were, contributing to the 1929 crash).

  101. How many people did capitalists murder in the 20th century?

    That’s not a wise game to play, Grossman. Both teams have impressively high scores.

  102. >It is interesting that the 50 or so years we had Glass Steagal in place we had no bank failures. No bail outs.

    Golly gee, do you think the banks were subsidized indirectly to hide failure? And what about the cause/coincidence difference? We have never had consistent capitalism. The Revolution was funded by “Not worth a Contintental” and the Civil War was financed by Greenbacks that caused economic problems for decades.
    Why is the use of gold so intellectually difficult? Would you rather be paid for your legal knowledge in Bernanke Notes or gold? I hope that Im not unPC but I just got home from a bar where an illegal Hispanic bought me a shot of Jack Daniels and Im feelin’ OK.

  103. Funny you should mention that, raff. Ralph Adamo (not from New Orleans Ralph) was just talking about how much he likes killing in the name of religion on the US/Israeli thread.

  104. @Stephen: We have never had consistent capitalism.

    If you believe that, then you should ask yourself why that situation exists and is so persistent. Why, over hundreds of years, have we not implemented it? I think the answer is obvious; whatever you think “pure capitalism” may be, the rest of us (meaning the majority of Americans that have lived since 1776) just don’t want it. The potential for (and past realization of) brutally unfair exploitation turns us off. Unlike most people that call for “pure capitalism” the majority of humans do not believe money is more important than people’s lives.

    Why is the use of gold so intellectually difficult?

    It isn’t. It is physically inconvenient; the weight of a dime in gold is worth (today) $123.50. Can you imagine trying to buy a $10 sandwich with gold? The price would be 0.59 hundredths of an ounce. To get to a price within a modern penny, you would have to be able to weigh the gold to within a thirty-thousandth of an ounce. All vendors would need damn accurate scales, and ways to check they are receiving unadulterated gold.

    Gold is also unstable and unreliable; check your gold prices: In February of this year, somebody paid in gold would have received $1746 per ounce in buying power; three months later, that would be $1491 in buying power. That is a 14.6% DROP in buying power over three months, and it isn’t an unusual variance.

    Again, I am not sure what problem you think gold is going to solve for you. Let me point out that right this minute, you can buy gold (or silver, which has a higher correlation to inflation and is more stable in pricing than gold; probably due to less mysticism and speculation) right now, with any money you have. All of your savings can be in physical gold and silver, nothing is stopping you from that. If you believe that protects you from inflation, then have at it.

    (In fact, if you believe hyper-inflation is on the way, then the smart play is to go into fixed-interest debt to buy gold (like a second mortgage); the hyper-inflation will evaporate the debt to near-zero, and the gold will retain its value.)

    So I infer that your demand to return to a rare metals based standard is really about EVERYBODY doing it, not just you. Whatever you think that gets you, it doesn’t. The government and people could still borrow money, live in debt, die in debt, tax people, etc.

    If you are worried about “fiat” money being printed, that is just a convenient substitute for a tax, and if it were prohibited by a gold standard the government would just find another way to borrow or raise the money anyway. Your “solution” lasts for all of a month, that’s it, then suddenly there is a new payroll tax or revenue tax or GDP tax or net-worth tax (like Norway’s) or whatever that becomes effective immediately.

    Why is this so intellectually difficult to grasp? The government is not filled with morons and no easily-countered move will do the job. You actually need an airtight checkmate in this game, something that leaves them with no choice but surrender.

    The gold standard is not intellectually difficult to grasp, and you are welcome to hoard it if you want; it is not illegal to buy and own. People do not want it because people do not believe it would solve anything, and they are right about that.

  105. tony c:

    there is also silver, platinum, copper nickle, palladium which have different values per weight. I have a couple of mexican gold coins smaller than a dime.

    A gold standard, if I understand the concept correctly, would prevent government from inflating our money. Since the price of an ounce would be set by demand and supply. Supply would be naturally controlled by the cost of production, so gold has a real lower value and a real higher value.

    This assumes political and economic freedom. A gold standard in Zimbabwe means nothing.

  106. Tony C.

    >>Stephen: We have never had consistent capitalism.

    >If you believe that….whatever you think “pure capitalism” may be,

    Since you dont know what it is, you cant know if it has existed.

    >then you should ask yourself why that situation exists and is so persistent. Why, over hundreds of years, have we not implemented it?

    Its base in reason and selfishness was not defended.

    >brutally unfair exploitation

    Tell us about the wide, deep, historical prosperity of feudalism and primitive farming that capitalism destroyed. But first see Angus Maddison’s “World Per Capita GDP” graph. Scratch a socialist and find a medievalist. Capitalism gradually arose in a poor culture of constant near-starvation, occasional famines, average death at 30, most children dying before five years, primitive medicine, sanitation, clothing, hygiene, etc, etc. Capitalism gradually, not instantly, ended that as it gradually produced the capital needed. But your nihilist hatred of man’s mind cannot tolerate the rational culture of capitalism. Your concern is not alleged exploitation. You want a culture in which reason is discouraged and punished. You want to be unfocused. You dont want to think about anything. See modern “art.” You nihilists are causing the return of religion because most people are not suicidal. Both nihilists and (principled, consistent, as in most of history) religionists oppose capitalism.

  107. @Bron: You missed the part about inflation just being an alternative form of tax. The government inflates the money by printing for a reason; to spend it.

    Can we agree on that?

    In order to talk about inflation without confusion we have to also agree on some definitions; I will call “buying power” the amount of some commodity that can be bought for a dollar; and instead of using words like “cash” and “money,” just consider the dollar a token that can be exchanged for the commodity (soybeans, corn, wheat, sugar, etc).

    The inflation affects those that own dollars or (this is crucial) debt that is measured in dollars; you “own debt” when you have made a loan to somebody, and in this case they are obligated to repay your loan in dollars. If inflation makes dollars have less buying power, then inflation reduces the buying power of what you will be paid back (hence the need for interest even on risk-free loans, since the point of the loan was to get a net increase in the buying power, right?)

    So inflation reduces the buying power of our dollars; not only paycheck to paycheck, but the dollars we have in savings, and the dollars that other people are obligated to pay us in the future (as loan repayments, either directly or indirectly).

    You know what else reduces the buying power of the dollar? Taking part of the dollar as a tax.

    A gold standard would prevent government from inflating your money, but it would not stop the government from TAXING your money. Inflation is just a substitute for a tax, and if inflation was prohibited, the government would STILL raise the money it needs to spend, with a new tax, and that would also reduce your net buying power. Not the buying power of a single dollar, but by reducing the number of dollars you have. Lest you think it is impossible, there is nothing stopping the government from implementing a net-worth tax (with some deductible like $500K), other countries do it, and since part of your net worth includes the money owed to you, this would have the same effect as inflation.

    As it stands; the most buying power lost by inflation is lost by the rich; since they are the ones that ultimately own the most dollars, do the most lending and therefore own the most debt repayable in dollars; practically by definition.

    Implementing a gold standard to stop inflation is like the police setting up a blockade of just the leftmost lane of a six lane highway; it would be ridiculously ineffective at stopping whatever it was intended to stop.

  108. Argh. Broke my own rule and used “money,” I should have said, “since part of your net worth includes the dollars+ owed to you, this would have the same effect as inflation.”

  109. @Stephen: Since you dont know what it is, you cant know if it has existed.

    You are the one that claims it hasn’t; and my argument rests on your belief, not mine.

    Also, I AM a capitalist, I have made a lot of money as a capitalist, I have invested lots of money in businesses and had it returned many times over; even fifty times within a few years. I was in business, serving businesses, for twenty years.

    I just do not believe in unregulated capitalism. I know business very, very well, and without regulation and laws to protect workers, customers, investors, the public and the environment, there is a relentless subset of smart sociopathic businessmen that will do literally anything they can get away with to make a dollar; including enslaving people, endangering customers and workers, ripping off investors, and stiffing creditors.

    My only concern is exploitation and harm done to others. You are the one that won’t listen to reason; you are the one that has no regard for anybody but yourself; that must be true if you are willing to let people be subjugated and enslaved in the name of “reason.”

  110. ” … (or silver, which has a higher correlation to inflation and is more stable in pricing than gold; probably due to less mysticism and speculation) …” (Tony)

    Remember the Bass brothers down in Texas and their play on silver in the 80’s?

    Might as well use Tulip Bulbs (1600’s). ;)

    I always wonder where one would keep one’s gold given that even in a safety deposit box all it takes is an Executive Order and one must surrender one’s gold to an Agent on site for, ahem, fair market price. (Think FDR)

    Just passing through …

  111. Gene,

    “How many people did capitalists murder in the 20th century?”

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read that question was the Ludlow Massacre.

    *****

    The Ludlow Massacre
    http://www.umwa.org/?q=content/ludlow-massacre

    Excerpt:
    The date April 20, 1914 will forever be a day of infamy for American workers. On that day, 18 innocent men, women and children were killed in the Ludlow Massacre. The coal miners in Colorado and other western states had been trying to join the UMWA for many years. They were bitterly opposed by the coal operators, led by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

    Upon striking, the miners and their families had been evicted from their company-owned houses and had set up a tent colony on public property. The massacre occurred in a carefully planned attack on the tent colony by Colorado militiamen, coal company guards, and thugs hired as private detectives and strike breakers. They shot and burned to death 18 striking miners and their families and one company man. Four women and 11 small children died holding each other under burning tents. Later investigations revealed that kerosine had intentionally been poured on the tents to set them ablaze. The miners had dug foxholes in the tents so the women and children could avoid the bullets that randomly were shot through the tent colony by company thugs. The women and children were found huddled together at the bottoms of their tents.

    The Baldwin Felts Detective Agency had been brought in to suppress the Colorado miners. They brought with them an armored car mounted with a machine gun—the Death Special— that roamed the area spraying bullets. The day of the massacre, the miners were celebrating Greek Easter. At 10:00 AM the militia ringed the camp and began firing into the tents upon a signal from the commander, Lt. Karl E. Lindenfelter. Not one of the perpetrators of the slaughter were ever punished, but scores of miners and their leaders were arrested and black-balled from the coal industry.

  112. @Blouise: Yeah, but they failed… The last time I looked, I think the correlation was measured for 25 years.

    It is actually a rather difficult task to find anything one can buy that both tracks inflation (and thus necessarily deflation) and retains it trade value (buying power) for decades at a time. People speculate in everything that can be bought and sold. Some things like precious metals, jewels and land do not corrode, at least, but as you point out with silver, they are subject to speculative bubbles that can inflate the prices and ruin them as consistent inflation hedges; i.e. you have to know what it is really worth before you buy it.

    I am surprised that any of the collapse-of-civilization crowd (I am not a member!) hoards gold, silver or jewels. I really don’t think those will be worth crap if civilization collapses; I would be far more inclined to hoard (for trading) useful things that will become rare because they become difficult to make. Like knives, steel arrowheads, scalpels and titanium blades. Plus (if I were worried about it) I think I would learn a post-civilization trade as a hobby; perhaps primitive all-by-hand optometry and lens making for eyeglasses; that would be worth something. Particularly making eyeglasses for the near-sighted; since in the post-civilization world, survival would rely heavily on clear vision to distance, both for perception of threats and for hunting and gathering. Also to make magnifying glasses, telescopes, microscopes, all those are very useful and would be worthy trade items.

  113. Tony,

    It was the failure to which I was alluding.

    One wonders how they hoarded tulip bulbs in the 1600’s. Salt as a preservative? ;)

    “Plus (if I were worried about it) I think I would learn a post-civilization trade as a hobby” Now you’re talking my language and the “values” with which I was raised. Money is a tool suitable to certain jobs but a skill, even if developed as a hobby, can make all the difference if survival is in question.

  114. And capitalism ended universal child labor. But, first, capitalist child labor kept those children alive who would have died and previously did die of poverty or physically draining farm jobs. Capitalist child labor also helped end cottage industry, w/their cramped sitting, eyesight-damaging close work and poor lighting and disease from lack of ventilation.

    Marx praised capitalist productivity and revised The Comm Manifesto to include the increased industrial wages in his time.

    The religious sin of intellectual pride is the base of the refuted idea of “surplus value.”

  115. @Blouise: I meant “as a hobby” while waiting for civilization to collapse; I would obviously go pro if I survived the collapse.

    I think that in a collapse people will lose all trust in precious metals and jewels for a generation. How many people can tell if it is real? I wear a gold wedding band; but in that situation I do not think I would trade something I know is real, like a set of steel barbed arrowheads or a good steel hunting knife, for that same band. Even though the band is currently worth 25 times as much (I am not a hunter, btw, that is just an example).

    I wouldn’t know how to test its purity, and couldn’t be sure anybody else would take it in trade. The expertise of identifying with confidence real gold and silver would eventually recover, but at least while I lived, I’d rely on the more easily identifiable value of hardened steel blades and decent glass lenses, perhaps some high-temperature crucibles. I might also buy a nice steel anvil, I think the value of those would skyrocket with the collapse of civilization.

  116. Hooo-boy, capitalism ended child labor? What you smokin’ Stephen?

    Since I work in industrial metals, I can say we have had a sneaking suspicion that the silver market is absolutely being manipulated by TBTF banks for years now. JPMorgan has massive shorts on silver and they must win this bet or go under.
    Anyway, if you want to keep up with metals this is the best site:
    http://www.kitco.com/

  117. Really great posts Tony C. I have to say I think gold will always be a form of exchange as it has for centuries. But it also has some critical industrial uses in computers, etc., so will always hold some value.

  118. @shano: I think “always” still allows some large gaps. Can you tell the difference between 18K gold and 20K gold? 18K is 75% gold, 20K is 80.333% gold, and equal weights of them differ in value by 11.1%. I don’t know how to tell if a ring stamped 20K is really 18K, or if a necklace is gold plated bronze. Perhaps that is just ignorance on my part, but if civilization collapsed I would admit my ignorance and refuse to take any precious metal as payment for anything. I assume I am average in this respect and most people know as little as I do about judging the quality of what is supposedly gold, or about the methods of counterfeiting it. If I grew up in the early 1800s I am sure I would know much more; and 50 years after the collapse of civilization I am sure the average person would know much more, but in the decades immediately after a collapse I don’t think it would be widely used at all; there is too much potential fraudulence.

  119. Tony,
    When the zombie apocalypse comes, the most useful means of trade and barter will be dried beans and grain. They will become the most practical thing for commerce.

  120. >Tony C:In order to talk about inflation without confusion we have to also agree on some definitions;

    Kudos on your upfront dishonesty in evading observation-based, logically organized definitions. See Socrates for more.

  121. >Society is so unfair to demand responsibility from them for the society that they have reaped enormous benefit from!

    There is no supernatural being, not God or Society, transcending individuals. Individuals, not Society, create benefits. Society is a mental abstraction from individuals, a mental organization of the concrete observation of concretes. Individuals via chosen actions create responsibilities among people. Man is born free, not in chains of sacrifice. Man is morally free from man.

    Businessmen who produce $1million or more of goods per year have already contributed to other individuals. They should be tax-exempt.

  122. Oh there are simple acid tests to determine Karat weights. A foundry can separate gold from alloys, etc.
    There has been massive concern about Tungsten filled gold bars. To test the exterior does not tell you much- and the weight is extremely close to gold. This sort of crime has always been possible.

    I really think there will be more uses for gold in new energy technologies that rely on nano technology and thin film technology. Research is ongoing, but the properties of gold are ideal- it can make extremely thin films, does not degrade, etc.

    Now they trade gold and other metals in EFTs and other sorts of paper trading that do not require anyone holding the physical metal. This is a mistake.
    The whole deregulation of banks has created a ‘shadow banking ‘ system of derivatives like these that do no good in the real economy. I have been a market investor since the 1980’s and (imho) the whole market is rigged now.
    A few at the top are betting on sure returns (because they set the target price themselves) the rest of us have to be lucky.

  123. Tony C.
    1, December 6, 2012 at 9:32 am
    @Stephen: Since you dont know what it [capitalism] is, you cant know if it has existed.

    >You are the one that claims it hasn’t; and my argument rests on your belief, not mine.

    Your view of its nature cannot be justified by its history. Knowing somethings nature via its history is part of valid knowledge but its nature is not its history.

  124. Elaine M.
    1, December 6, 2012 at 10:17 am

    >“How many people did capitalists murder in the 20th century?”

    Re your commie definition? Your nihilist desire to destroy individual achievement is noted. Capitalism is the only politics based on individual rights. All other are based on the ignorance or hatred of individual rights.
    Thus your question has no rational base. One may as well search for green cheese on the moon.

    >The first thing that came to my mind when I read that question was the Ludlow Massacre.

    Mainstream historians of unions are either commie liars or Pragmatist context-droppers so its rational to suspect your post is false.

    Capitalism has greatly increased population with technology. The end of capitalism would kill many of the Earth’s 7B people. Thus environmentalism.

  125. @Stephen: Kudos in return on your willful blindness.

    Society is not a mental abstraction at all; it is a very real thing. By analogy, all iron atoms have an electron magnetic moment, but not all hunks of iron are magnets; in random orientation the moments cancel out. But when its atoms are properly organized; the magnetic moments can be aligned and reinforce each other to create a large magnetic field. The hunk of iron becomes a magnet with properties it did not have before. Metaphorically, individuals are the atoms, the social compact is the organizing force, and society is the resulting magnetic field, the amplification of individual reach, which is normally nearly non-existent, through collective action to enormous effect.

  126. Jonathan Hoenig on Atlas Shrugged Part II

    —————————————-

    Quite frankly, anyone who thinks that the philosophy behind Atlas Shrugged is GOOD for the world to embrace should be dropped in the Sudan, and see if they can make it just as well there as they did in the USA……
    Let them see just how successful they are at taking care of THEMSELVES in a harsher situation….
    Let them see, that that success that they enjoy from being born in the right country is NOT ONLY from their doing…. that it is NOT as easy as they seem to think it is ON THEIR OWN….. and I mean TRULY on their own….

    ———

    I am SO SICK of people thinking that they have their success from their OWN hard work…..
    Fact is… had they been born or forced to live in a 3rd world country, they would NOT have even a sliver of the success they have from being in the USA or Europe, etc…..

    I am disgusted by people thinking that they should be able to belong to the MOST EXCLUSIVE Country clubs in the world, without having to pay the dues to do so…..

    people from 3rd world countries want to move to Europe and North America so they too can find success…. If the country does NOT help in this gaining of success, then they should be able to find equal success NO MATTER what country they reside…..
    HOWEVER… that is NOT how it works….. EU and the USA, etc are wealthy countries because of the investment of infrastructure and investment of education…. the investment of HUMAN safety, etc….. taxes are a price we pay for a CIVIL society….. a SAFE Society…. an Educated Society…

    WHY is this SO HARD to grasp for some of these Americans????

    —————————-

    anyone who thinks that Corporations are going to do what is good for a country…. and care about the OTHER citizens is NOT really being truthful with themselves….
    Just look at how many chemical plants dumbed toxic chemicals into our rivers and ground that poisoned citizens…. then when they were asked to be honest about such things, they lied and covered up their wrong doings so that they would save money….

    Some people are just GREEDY by nature…. they do not carte who they harm, just so they can have the most money….

    this is EXACTLY why capitalism without regulation is NOT good for ALL of the citizens of a society….

  127. @shano: Okay. Well I think we have your post-civilization job outline; you just need to learn how to manufacture those gold-testing acids from scratch. You could probably sell or trade them! And some way of ensuring silver is 100% silver, too.

  128. The issue of counterfeit gold is re-emerging after a reputable merchant in Manhattan discovered he’d bought $100,000 worth of fake gold bars, WNYW reported.

    When merchant Ibrahim Fadl drilled into several of the gold bars he’d bought from a regular source, he discovered they were actually filled with gray tungsten.

    Whoever is making the fake gold bars seems to be running a complex operation.
    “I can’t imagine how they cut the bar clean, and cut, and took everything inside out and left the shell to fit the tungsten in,” Fadl told NY1 News.

    According to WNYW, the deception happens when a hollowed-out, real gold bar with serial numbers and papers is filled with cheaper tungsten, since it weighs nearly the same.

    For merchants like Fadl, it’s a costly mistake: A counterfeit 10-ounce gold bar bought for almost $18,000 ends up only being worth $3,600, WNYW reported.
    NY1 News asked Fadl how he felt after he discovered the four bars he bought were fake. “Sick to my stomach, but I thank god we didn’t sell this to somebody,” he said.

    Gold expert Mike Fuljenz, of Universal Coin & Bullion, told NBC News that counterfeiting like this has been going on for a long time.

    “The people who get hit are not the bigger dealers,” Fuljenz said, since they often use machinery to detect counterfeits. However while it’s easier to pinpoint counterfeits in thinner materials like coins, Fuljenz said it’s more difficult with a big, thick bar.

    The Secret Service, which is reportedly investigating the case, was originally founded in 1865 for the purpose of stopping the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. The agency said Wednesday they won’t provide further comment.

    This New York incident could be a sign of a more widespread criminal effort. Gold bars filled with tungsten were discovered in England back in March, according to WNYW.

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/19/13963728-counterfeit-gold-bars-discovered-in-new-york-city?lite

  129. @justagurl: Wow. See, so much easier to test a knife or magnifying glass or pair of glasses, wouldn’t you think?

  130. Tony C.
    1, December 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    >Society is not a mental abstraction at all; it is a very real thing.

    Youre a collectivist-nihilist liar as shown by your appeal to analogy and metaphor. Reality is known by observation , observation-increasing machines (eg, microscope) or by observation-based logical inference. You have the same fanaticism as religionists re God. Your metaphors are a rationalization of collectivism.

    “Metaphorically, individuals are the atoms, the social compact is the organizing force, and society is the resulting magnetic field, the amplification of individual reach, which is normally nearly non-existent, through collective action to enormous effect.”
    Tony C

    “I speak to them [people at a mass meeting] only as the mass.”
    Hitler

    Konrad Heiden, an early biographer, calls the Nazi movement “a movement of the young.”18 Hitler appealed to many college students. The Nazis won
    “majority support in student council elections.”19 Student councils organized “the burning of the books” first at Berlin University then at 19 of 23 university towns.20 University professors also endorsed Hitler. Writes Bullock, after the purge of 15% of the 7,700 tenured professors, “the majority of the professors gave their support to the regime.”21

    Weimar Germany, the first modern, ie, nihilist, culture, is the source of the ideas of mainstream US intellectuals.

    German historian Werner Maser explains, “Hitler knew his people — the masses he so detested. More than that, he despised them and said so
    openly without circumspection– and still they applauded him.”33

    Weimar culture, the product of philosophers now taught in US universities, was mind- and value-hatred. Germans were intellectually convinced that despising one’s independent mind was proper.

  131. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    >The whole deregulation of banks has created a ‘shadow banking ‘ system of derivatives like these that do no good in the real economy.

    Note the evasion of the difference between total and partial deregulation. Finance is one of the most consistently regulated industries, w/many agencies controlling it.

    Derivatives, of course, increase investment, the enemy of nihilsts. The real economy is basically investment. Physical production stems from investment.

  132. SG, so I think, having lived through this time period while investing both in the stock market and in precious metals- the unregulated market is destroying the real market. Price discovery can no longer be based on real supply and demand.
    Total deregulation of derivatives caused the financial meltdown- when AIG was betting on mortgage backed securities with complex ‘insurance’ derivatives.
    You ideologists simply cannot make the connection between what is real and what is market manipulation. And what is investing and what is gambling. There used to be a difference, and laws were in place to make sure those lines could not be crossed.

    Tony C. oh, if there is a post civilization- I go back to my former job as a farmer. I am covered!

  133. justagurlinseattle
    1, December 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    >Just look at how many chemical plants dumbed toxic chemicals into our rivers and ground that poisoned citizens

    Just look at the evasion of the need to study the legal context to identify the presence or absence of laws forcing or allowing pollution that harms specific individuals. Blood-spattered collectivism (Society is real. Tony C) was used by 19th century US courts to justify pollution against property because,allegedly, society needed industry. Capitalism was gone. Socialism was the rule. Today, most rivers are socialist, with no private owners wanting to preserve the river’s cleanliness for various customers and who would be responsible for damage to people and property.

    BTW, capitalist wealth and tech has decreased pollution. People dont dump germ-ridden waste out their windows now as they did prior to capitalism. The Br. Parliament closed its windows to the filth in the Thames. Youre a nihilist destroyer.

  134. @Stephen: Reality is known by observation

    I observe you seem rather divorced from it. Reality is not known by observation alone; a camera and microphone can record reality but it means nothing without interpretation; and interpretation means understanding relationships, just one of those relationships is cause and effect. There are other relationships as well, including the detection of hidden states, logical consequences, and so forth.

    Observation means nothing unless inferences are drawn, patterns discovered and tested for predictive power. Knowing is not about having watched a video, my dog watches TV. But he doesn’t know what he is watching, unless there is a dog to bark at. He has no understanding.

    Mistakes can be made in inferences, and that is what you have done, failed to properly discern the patterns and relationships that are hidden from you but are still real, and thus you have failed to properly formulate usefully predictive models. As is evidenced by your writing.

  135. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm
    >the unregulated market is destroying the real market. Price discovery can no longer be based on real supply and demand. Total deregulation of derivatives caused the financial meltdown- when AIG was betting on mortgage backed securities with complex ‘insurance’ derivatives.

    Youre nihilist liar and a drop-the-context Pragmatist. The financial industry is one of the most regulated, subsidized and bailed-out industries. Whatever freedom exists for derivatives exists in the wider context of the massive regulation of finance. Ie, its the freedom to respond to regulations wider than the derivative industry. Its not the freedom to respond to the market. Youre considering only direct but not indirect regulations. Eg, the Fed’s counterfeiting of money and credit, legal tender, the lack of market-selected commodity money, the vast array of Federal and state agencies which regulate finance. Your rationalization of nihilism fails. Try another. Maybe youll get lucky. Well, do you feel lucky, punk?!

  136. I am just glad those socialist rivers in the US no longer catch on fire.

    Tell me, how long has Union Carbide/ Dow been fighting in court to deny victims of the Bhopal disaster compensation for killing thousands of people and destroying their community? Poisoning their water supplies even today…

  137. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm
    Hooo-boy, capitalism ended child labor? What you smokin’ Stephen?

    Youre a nihilist liar, w/o evidence. Prior to capitalism, children who didnt work starved to death and their work was needed for parents. Capitalist parents, benefiting from the massive capital of capitalism, have sufficient wealth to send the children to school. Child labor is universal and an economic need today in non-capitalist economies.

  138. @shano: I’ve never been a farmer. I’ve done the heavy lifting on my wife’s flower garden, though!

    Farmers have done well in several previous collapses; crops are basically immune from inflation. Because they can trade food for labor, supplies and other types of food, not just farm labor but a protective labor force against thieves. A farm can become a kind of co-op community.

  139. You missed my point SG, not surprising.
    The shadow market in unregulated derivatives distorts the real market. It cannot do otherwise. For this reason there is no real price discovery.

    Market makers can name the price target and manipulate the market to hit that target with high speed computer trading. The main reason to do this is to win massive bets in the derivatives markets.

  140. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    >The shadow market in unregulated derivatives distorts the real market.

    Fascism is faith in the state as the source of reality, knowledge and morality.
    Eg, your absurd claim that the “real market” is govt-regulated and that the unregulated market is not the real market. This is a miasma of rationalist, floating pseudo-abstractions based in the arbitrary and conventional. And based in a fear of individual freedom, a fear that no one will force you to obey laws violating individual rights, a fear that you will be “abandoned” to think for yourself, to possibly conflict with mainstream opinion. The thought of facing reality with their own minds has frightened most people throughout history. Thus the prevalence of witch doctors and tribal chiefs (or modern philosophers and regulatory bureaucrats). Your problem is epistemological, not political. You dont want to think about fundamentals.

    The market is voluntary, unregulated production and trade. And I wonder about the limit of freedom in derivatives, not that this affects your perversion above.

  141. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm
    >I am just glad those socialist rivers in the US no longer catch on fire.

    Then we agree that socialism both allowed and banned river pollution, ie, its arbitrary and not based on the objectivity of individual rights, including property rights.

    >Tell me, how long has Union Carbide/ Dow been fighting in court to deny victims of the Bhopal disaster compensation for killing thousands of people and destroying their community? Poisoning their water supplies even today…

    If that part of your mind that recalls the socialism of India during Bhopal made contact with that part that knows of the Bhopal disaster, would there be an explosion, intellectually speaking, of course? Would you question anti-principles, anti-systematic Pragmatism? The Indian govt regulated that plant. Thats all you need to know. The details of how that indirectly caused the disaster are probably sordid. And why would you even think of indirect causes? Day after day, journalists, even conservative ones, report our Depression without identifying the disaster of govt inflation funding unsustainable investments. Govt is beyond question because it has what you fascists value, a gun stuck in the faces of businessmen. Who cares about the details?

  142. So, I did not know the Indian government was in the business of chemical manufacture. Dow would be surprised by that statement, I am sure.

    You suggest all sorts of things but for the life of me, I cannot understand your position if you have one. I have very high reading comprehension.

    Hah, I am a businessman. I just want Multinationals to stop the march to fascism. Your definition and mine seem to have nothing in common. Established money interests have bought our government. They write the tax code and they write the regulations as well. This is why there is no true price discovery.
    It is a form of fascism.
    This will also hinder innovation and development of new industries, new ideas, and honest competition.

    That has nothing to do with individual freedom. It is absolute corruption.

  143. As a former farmer I am absolutely for protecting the commons of clean air, water, soil. Your ideology has no recourse for this sort of protection that benefits all mankind. No, you want to continue to privatize profits while socializing the losses.

  144. Tony C,

    My hobby-skill is plumbing which was taught to me by my Dad when I was a teenager. (He was a highly placed exec with Ma Bell but that was beside the point when it came to learning practical skills.)

    We hunted with bows and arrows and I was tasked with learning how to remove human waste from a camp site without contaminating the drinking water source. We’re talking trenches, proper lining of same, degree of slope, and suitable storage/treatment.

    Over the years I have saved Tex a good deal of money with my plumbing skills. He tells people he didn’t marry me for my money or for my music career but rather for my ability to install toilets and run water/gas lines. Nobody believes I have these skills.

  145. Stephen Grossman,

    You wrote:
    “Re your commie definition? Your nihilist desire to destroy individual achievement is noted. Capitalism is the only politics based on individual rights. All other are based on the ignorance or hatred of individual rights.
    Thus your question has no rational base. One may as well search for green cheese on the moon.”

    *****
    Pray tell, what did I define? And what was my question? I was quoting someone else when I wrote: “How many people did capitalists murder in the 20th century?”

  146. Tony C.
    1, December 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    >Reality is not known by observation alone….Mistakes can be made in inferences, and that is what you have done.

    I was explicit, with a microscope as example, that observation is supplemented by other methods. Also, you contradict your claim that I validate only observation by claiming that I made an inferential error, ie, that I inferred, ie, that I used a method beyond observation.

    >patterns discovered and tested for predictive power.

    The next scientific step after observation is not hypothesis. Following Aristotle Francis Bacon, and Rand, its conceptualization based on observed and logically and hierarchically organized similarities and differences. Arbitrary hypotheses are religion, not science. If we raindance, maybe the crops will grow. We dont need to conceptualize rain and dancing and then induce a generalization. We will guess about patterns.

    Im offering online lessons in reasoning, low rates. Kruggerrands and Double Eagles accepted.

  147. Elaine M.
    1, December 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm
    > Pray tell, what did I define? And what was my question? I was quoting someone else when I wrote: “How many people did capitalists murder in the 20th century?”

    Lets go to Laurel Canyon and get stoned.

  148. nick,

    So true … but I also learned several ways to purify water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Woodsy Forrester be me.

  149. @Stephen: its conceptualization

    No it isn’t. As a Rand follower I presume you speak Aynish, which redefines so many common words to permit Ayn’s circular reasoning that nobody but another Aynish can understand you.

    I pity your kind, truly, even a weak mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  150. nick spinelli
    1, December 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm
    >Blouise, Being able to deal w/ shit is useful in so many aspects of life.

    Being able not to deal with shit is even more useful. That’s why capitalist freedom is so important and why its vanishing is so destructive. I can walk away from someone advocating sacrifice but I cannot walk away from the
    govt policies which are sacrifice in action. I wish I didnt have to deal with that shit.

  151. I bet the same thing will happen here if the democrats are successful in raising the tax rate again on the higher income.

  152. Elaine wrote:
    “Thanks for the invitation. I don’t know where Laurel Canyon is. Can you send me directions? You bring the musrooms–I’ll bring the hash.”
    ~+~
    No need to find Laurel Canyon, just come up here to Washington and get stoned legally. Have a last dance with Mary Jane.

    check out Seattle PD’s marijuana FAQ page for a good laugh.

    an excerpt:

    Does this mean you should flagrantly roll up a mega-spliff and light up in the middle of the street? No. If you’re smoking pot in public, officers will be giving helpful reminders to folks about the rules and regulations under I-502 (like not smoking pot in public). But the police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.

  153. @Bron: No, Archimedes did not have the answer; that is the whole point of using Tungsten. Archimedes method depended upon the density of gold; i.e. the weight per volume. That is what he was measuring by putting the crown in water, the water displaced by the crown would have the same volume as the crown; and the weight could be computed on a scale. But Archimedes was looking for potential lead filling, 59% the density of gold, so answers within 1% accuracy were good enough.

    Gold has a mass of 19.30 grams per cubic centimeter, and Tungsten has a mass of 19.25 grams per cc (Lead 11.34). That a very slight difference: 0.26%, or 1 part in 385). Tungsten is cheap, about $1.30 an ounce. Tungsten is the closest element in density to Gold as well.

    A ten ounce bar is 311.03g of gold, which is 16.1155 cc. So if 80% of it was replaced with Tungsten (as implied by the article) the difference in weight would be 0.65 grams. That is measurable, BUT, consider this: The bars are stamped with a facing and serial number. See here.

    Which means the bar could be made ever so slightly thicker for the background area, which measures 3.035 square inches, to add an additional 0.65 grams of gold, and produce precisely the same weight.

    0.65 grams of gold would cost about $38, it would be 3.37% of a cubic centimeter. Spread over 19.578 sq c requires a thickness of 0.00172 centimeters. Or about 1/1500th of an inch. That 1/1500th of an inch higher background (i.e. shallower stamp) would be undetectable to the eye; the weight would be exactly right, all of the external dimensions would remain exactly right, and I think the 0.21% change in overall volume, 3% of a cubic centimeter, would be extremely difficult to measure by any Archimedes water displacement measurement.

  154. tony c:

    you make a valid point but Archimedes method still applies and could be used. The volume of the gold/tungsten bar is still more than the gold bar due to the difference in density.

    The principle applies. Granted it may take some very high tech measurements to detect the difference. A laser could be used and i am surmising the slight change in volume could be detected.

    Just take the principle of volume/displacement and use light instead of water.

    Simple as Pi.

  155. @Bron: Okay, then, a challenge. Here is how to defeat Archimedes entirely.

    Platinum is available. It has a density of 21.09 g/cc; 9.275% heavier than gold (and is currently 5% cheaper than gold). So we solve a simple equation using Tungsten and Platinum; P*19.25 + (1-P)*21.09 = 19.30; and find that a mixture of 97.2826 Tungsten with a plug (or sheet) of 2.7174% Platinum will equal the weight AND volume of Gold.

    In 8 ounces, that would be 0.217392 ounces of platinum. Assuming Platinum is roughly the same price as Gold, then the value of the bar with gold AND platinum recovered will be 22.174% of the value of pure gold; with precisely the same volume and weight of Gold.

    Class is dismissed, Archimedes.

  156. tony c:

    bravo, encore.

    you could test it sonically and see the density differences and the “strata” line between the gold and tungsten. Granted we have gone past Archimedes at this point.

  157. Everyone in the metal business is astonished that 18K is the same price as platinum these days. I would rather have platinum, personally. But both are a good hedge against a weak dollar. A basket of various metals, including copper, is a good bet these days.

  158. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    The India of the Bhopal disaster regulated industry as well as owned it. UC/D was forced to obey regulations and to contradict their own judgment on chemical safety.

    > I just want Multinationals to stop the march to fascism. Your definition and mine seem to have nothing in common. Established money interests have bought our government. They write the tax code and they write the regulations as well. This is why there is no true price discovery.
    It is a form of fascism.

    Your commie definition of fascism is a deduction from the Marxist faith in transcendental causes and economic determinism ,not an observation-based, identification of the widest property of the logical-hierarchical organization of observed and abstracted similarities and differences of the concrete, material universe. A conflict between a businessman who has money and a bureaucrat with a gun can end in only one way. Govt forces business to obey its destructive whims. You evade the long history of increasing govt control of business, an increase that your allegedly omnipotent businessmen could not stop. The defensive influence that business has over this is at the margin and could not happen with the capitalist separation of state and economics. Most of the villains in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged were crony fascists, not socialists. She predicted fascism, not socialism, because she took philosophy serriously.

    The march to fascism is from nihilist philosophy, not economic determinism. Mainstream philosophers, since Kant, have attacked mind and value. Our current fascist worship of arbitrary, unsystematic, unprincipled ,short-range, state power, ie, Pragmatism, defended w/commie slogans, is Kant’s influence in politics. Ie, the sacrifice of mind and values as an end in itself. America has not been the nation of the rational Enlightenment since, perhaps, the late 19th century. The ex-Constituional law lecturer in the White House views the Constitution as the ancient and bloody politics of the “general welfare,” not the politics of the right to life, liberty (, property) and the pursuit of happiness.

    I would be amazed if your acceptance of price discovery was limited by individual rights rather than the desire to destroy the remnant of capitalism.

  159. @Bron: you could test it sonically and see the density differences and the “strata” line between the gold and tungsten.

    Here’s the encore:

    I haven’t seen any data on it, but I believe that could probably be defeated with sintering; basically heating a compressed powdered cake mixture of the metals to about 10% under the melting point of the gold. The trick is the cake can be made with a controlled density gradient of tungsten and gold; changing the tungsten powder proportion smoothly from 0% to 100% (the metal powder layers can be made and sprayed microscopically thin). The sintering will soften and fuse the powder grains together so the cake becomes solid, but they won’t mix as they might in melting, thus preserving the smooth density gradient we constructed.

    I am guessing a smooth density gradient will prevent that engineered material from presenting any sharp echo transitions as the sound wave passes through the material.

  160. blah blah blah Steve. I am describing what is going on now, not in your textbooks or theoretically.
    The evidence in the real world points to Multinational corporations buying the political process in the US to the point of affecting our trade deals, any industry connected legislation, and the tax code. They are using lax government regulations to corrupt the markets and steal from poor nations and rich nations. It is not speculation, it is fact. Happening now.

    As to the rich fleeing England, 27% of the rich are fleeing China for different reasons- too much government control of business and investment.

    Where will these rich people go when no nation will let them live without paying any taxes, obeying any law, being oblivious to the degradation that they cause with their enormous carbon footprints?

    Maybe they will invest in underground bunkers after they all chip in to buy a continent reserved for the 1%! Then they can continue to survive on Earth after profit seeking demands result in making the climate uninhabitable for humans. Give them another century of greed and paying off officials and buying the political process. Maybe they will be floating out in space trying to find a habitable planet.
    Who knows what the he11 these people will do after they wreck life on Earth for profit.

  161. One more point, if you are reading a economic textbook that does not have ‘Multinational corporation’ or ‘Transnational corporation’ displayed prominently in the index, you need a new book.

  162. @shano: Stephen isn’t reading any textbook, he is spouting the same drivel he read from Ayn Rand; circular reasoning, false conclusions, and simply factually wrong neurology. The mind doesn’t work the way Ayn pulled it out of her Aynush, the neurons do not work that way, the organization is not done that way. Since all of her drivel is based on a false premise that cannot be reconciled with reality, it comes to unrealistic conclusions, solutions, and characterizations.

    I call that language and people the Aynish, Rand redefined words so pervasively so she could claim bad is good, indifference is caring, and the best thing you can do for society is ruthlessly exploit others and leave them to die homeless and sick. It is a religion based on utter falsehoods, and it is the religion of the psychopath that fundamentally simply does not want to be punished for seeking private gain by any means necessary, no matter what the fallout.

  163. shano
    1, December 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm
    >blah blah blah Steve. I am describing what is going on now, not in your textbooks or theoretically.

    Description is not explanation. As Bob Dylan sang, “Something is going on, Mr. Jones, but you dont know what it is.” Babylonian astronomers described star and planet motion. But it took Aristotle’s discovery of scientific method to know causes and applied by Newton to identify universal gravity and laws of motion. You could memorize a book of economic statistics w/o knowing causes, as Bernanke did with the Great Depression.

    >The evidence in the real world points to Multinational corporations buying the political process in the US to the point of affecting our trade deals, any industry connected legislation, and the tax code.

    Yes, those concrete facts exist but, evading theory and textbooks, you have only effects, no cause. You have a hidden theory, a fascist faith in govt power as the solution to social problems. Thus you cant identify your facts as caused by govt and you cant identify the rejection of state control of economics as the solution.

    >They are using lax government regulations to corrupt the markets

    Govt regs are the corruption of the market.

    >and steal from poor nations and rich nations.

    Nations dont own anything. Only individuals own. Nations have no rights, including the right to regulate production. Only individuals have rights.

    Your fascism requires increasing govt power for all problems until you have created a totalitarian dictatorship.

  164. shano
    1, December 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm
    As a [anti-individual rights collectivist] I am absolutely for protecting the commons of clean air, water, soil. Your ideology has no recourse for this sort of protection that benefits all mankind. No, you want to continue to

    There is no commons. There is only private property. The pollution common to pre-capitalist economies has been ended or decreased by capitalist wealth and tech. Pollution, like any damage, must be concretely identified for cause and effect. Capitalism benefits all mankind, which is why its opposed by sacrfice-lusting nihilists. Privatize profits while socializing the losses is of fascism, not capitalism.

    You continue to rationalize the evasion of reason, the basic method of human survival and the basic cause of production. You reject the cause, reason, while wishing for the effect, material wealth. You want a culture and economy where mindless nihilism is practical for survival. But thats impossible. Its practical only for death, as all history, observation and reflection upon one’s own life shows.

  165. Tony C
    >Ayn Rand; circular reasoning

    Example? Rand starts from the perception of concrete reality, conceptualized as existence.

    >factually wrong neurology

    Rand, a philosopher, not a scientist, has no claims about neurology except that consciousness requires a brain.

    > Rand redefined words

    She redefined words based on a rational study of concretes and the needs of the mind in conceptualizing concretes. Your rejection of this is a rationalization of the cowardly,impractical fear of social disapproval and a rationalization of the evasion of scientific method for mere popularity or tradition. Youre a scientific fraud, a mindless pattern recognizer, an evader of man’s need to conceptualize patterns. The mere perception of or statistical description of patterns is the primitive, pre-scientific mentality. The 17th century scientific revolution used Aristotle’s systematic conceptualization of concretes, making the induction of causes possible. The 19th century regression to unconceptualized patterns (positivism) held up the acceptance of the atomic theory for many years.

    You remain, as you were, an anti-scientific quack, suitable only for stuffed display in a Museum Of Ignorance.

    > the best thing you can do for society

    Morality is a guide to one’s own life and happiness, not a rationalization of altruism. Other people do, in fact and history,benefit from one’s rational actions, but that is not a moral justification. You remain at the animal level of “morality” of eat or be eaten. Without mind, thats your fate.

  166. SG, yea, you are just plain wrong. The pollution was ended in the USA by Nixon signing and creating the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water act, etc.. etc. The capitalists were forced to stop the most destructive practices and we are still fighting this fight.
    Nations do have wealth, they have forests, farmland, mineral wealth, et al.

    You have no reason, only trivia that you pursue that supports your position, one of denial of the physical realm, of real time cause and effect. Capitalism is what you think will ‘save’ mankind, when it will destroy mankind if not regulated, and soon.

    The fascism of resource extraction is the privatization of profits while socializing losses. This must change. The force of change will drive the economy and break monopolies which will do nothing if left to their own devices.

    At this point it may even be too little too late for human life to be able to survive on Earth in a hundred years. But you can pray to your alter of Capitalism as much as you wish, that will not bring the temperature of the Earth down enough to be able to grow food after the Capitalist system destroys our atmosphere with carbon..

    I have been looking for ‘reason’ in your posts but I find none. Only ideology based of false assumptions.

    Tony C. interesting that Ayn Rand, an old woman who gave herself lung cancer and had the rest of society pay her medical bill, a parasite who lived her life out on Social Security, a boozer and nicotine addict who had a fetish for a man who murdered a child, has her own religion now. Do they leave vodka shots and a pack of Pall Malls at her alter?

  167. @shano: interesting that Ayn Rand, …

    All true. She was just another fraud, writing badly plotted fiction, but something rang bells for sociopaths and she rode that wave to her riches. I think the closest analog might be L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientology guy, a mediocre science fiction writer that rolled his own religion.

  168. Rand starts from the perception of concrete reality, conceptualized as existence.

    That doesn’t mean anything; I have talked about this with the Aynish before. It is completely empty of content; if I ask you what “perception” means, you have your own stupid definitions, if I ask you what “conceptualization” or “existence” means, you have your own stupid definitions, if I ask you what “consciousness” is, you have your own stupid definitions.

    When people start basing their philosophy upon how consciousness, thinking, perception, or understanding works, they are necessarily talking about the details of how brains work, how sensory systems work, and most importantly how brains reason, emote, and come to decisions about actions. They are talking about neurology, neurological organization, and brain modules; most of which we still can only characterize based on their outputs, not any predictive description of their inner workings.

    People may couch what they say as philosophy, and philosophers have indeed captured good approximations of “the truth” about human behavior, by which we mean they are predictive of reality.

    That is what is meant by “The Truth,” that is our idealized 100% infallibly predictive model.

    What we mean by an “explanation” is a description of a simplifying predictive model. It isn’t really an explanation if it doesn’t capture some element of prediction that distinguishes one outcome from another outcome. When we say a statement explains something, it has to provide predictive guidance for the future. If the prediction is better than chance but still an imperfect predictor, we call that an approximation of the truth. If it is no better than chance, we call it a non-explanation, if it predicts the opposite of what it claims, we call it a lie, in various degrees.

    That is why your statement is empty. You may think it explains something, but it is in terms that provide zero predictive guidance going forward. It does us no good, what happens next does not follow. It is just a relabeling of something.

    As the Aynish use it, “perception” and “conceptualization” are just empty terms or relabeling, they do not explain anything.

    This is the favorite tactic of a fraud, to invent all their own terminology, so they can hide behind a barrage of blather that diverts attention from the fact that at bottom, it is all just empty non-explanation.

    The very fact that Ayn herself and the Aynish duped by her seem incapable of making their case in plain language using only dictionary definitions is evidence of fraud. Scientists invent terminology, but before terms become accepted the definitions must be precise, a term must refer to a specific collection of conditions and no other.

    Ayn Rand fooled people into thinking she had explained something when she explained nothing, and ultimately just provided an empty excuse for the terminally selfish to feel justified in being terminally selfish.

    That’s it. It isn’t a reasoned philosophy about human nature or societal nature at all, it is just a religion, a belief that they should not be vilified for being utterly sociopathic at every turn. It is an illogical, emotional and childish tantrum that they are entitled to the collective protection afforded by society without every paying their fair share for it.

    Which I find truly ironic, because the majority of the expense is protecting us from people that think like them!

  169. Tony,

    It has long been my opinion that all religions are, at their core, sociopathic. As they wear on new versions must be concocted to “reform” the paths the old have trod. Rather like the constant need to resurface a road which if left to erode to its core is always bumpy and fraught with the potholes of failed reasoning.

  170. > [Tony C] What we mean by an “explanation” is a description of a simplifying predictive model. It isn’t really an explanation if it doesn’t capture some element of prediction that distinguishes one outcome from another outcome. When we say a statement explains something, it has to provide predictive guidance for the future. If the prediction is better than chance but still an imperfect predictor, we call that an approximation of the truth

    Note the logically implicit context of faith in a transcendental truth unreachable and only approximatible by anti-science technicians (empiricists, positivists, etc) of unexplained predictions. Note the explicit confession that explanation, ie,the identification of causes ,is not his concern. Note the intellectually panicked anxiety about making an intellectually independent judgment of postmodern, arbitrary and conventional definitions. The Truth is out there. Who are we to question it? Forgive me for these impious thoughts.

    Maybe raindancing will grow crops. If not, we must have omitted something in the ritual. Another raindance! More ritual!

    I predict that exposing mainstream scientists as frauds will drive some to drink or worse. Hey, its a prediction! Lets see how much it approximates unknowable truth. Maybe a Federal grant for a new study…

  171. > [Tony C] “The Truth,” that is our idealized 100% infallibly predictive model.

    God as an unknowable ideal does not become intellectually respectable when restated as “our idealized 100% infallibly predictive model.” You are as intellectually lost inside your rituals as primitive savages who believe that a complex ritual, directed by the Witch Doctor, which fails to appease whimsical and cruel supernatural forces must have been imperfectly followed. And so the ritual begins anew…

    >[Rand] provide[s] zero predictive guidance going forward.

    People who evade focusing their minds will tell themselves that its beyond their power, that the Devil (neurons) made them think nasty thoughts and do a nasty thing. Maybe you can get a Federal grant for a study. After all, the current tribal chief says nobody does anything alone and his Secy of State says it takes a village.

  172. yea, Stephen, you have been captured by a cult.

    Mainstream scientists gave her a couple more years to collect SS by treating her lung cancer. She should have saved her money when she was popular! Why did she die broke when she was the toast of the town?

    Her predictive model was wrong. She thought people would still love her and her crazy ideas when she was old and ugly.

    She must have been tormented by intellectually panicked anxiety when she found that once she lost her looks, the money and followers got lost as well.

  173. “Rand starts from the perception of concrete reality, conceptualized as existence.

    That doesn’t mean anything; I have talked about this with the Aynish before. It is completely empty of content; if I ask you what “perception” means, you have your own stupid definitions, if I ask you what “conceptualization” or “existence” means, you have your own stupid definitions, if I ask you what “consciousness” is, you have your own stupid definitions.”

    Perception:

    Websters 1913:

    2. (Metaph.) The faculty of perceiving; the faculty, or peculiar part, of man’s constitution by which he has knowledge through the medium or instrumentality of the bodily organs; the act of apperhending material objects or qualities through the senses; — distinguished from conception. Sir W. Hamilton.

    Ayn Rand:

    A “perception” is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism, which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things.

    concept:

    Websters 1913:

    An abstract general conception; a notion; a universal.

    conception:

    3. The power or faculty of apprehending of forming an idea in the mind; the power of recalling a past sensation or perception.

    Under the article of conception, I shall confine myself to that faculty whose province it is to enable us to form a notion of our past sensations, or of the objects of sense that we have formerly perceived. Stewart.
    4. The formation in the mind of an image, idea, or notion, apprehension.

    Conception consists in a conscious act of the understanding, bringing any given object or impression into the same class with any number of other objects or impression, by means of some character or characters common to them all. Coleridge.
    5. The image, idea, or notion of any action or thing which is formed in the mind; a concept; a notion; a universal; the product of a rational belief or judgment. See Concept.

    He [Herodotus] says that the sun draws or attracts the water; a metaphorical term obviously intended to denote some more general and abstract conception than that of the visible operation which the word primarily signifies. Whewell.

    Websters 1828:

    conception:

    3. In pneumatology, apprehension of nay thing by the mind; the act of conceiving in the mind; that mental act or combination of acts by which an idea or notion is formed of an absent object of perception, or of a sensation formerly felt. When we see an object with our eyes open, we have a perception of it; when the same object is presented to the mind with the eyes shut, in idea only or in memory, we have a conception of it.

    Ayn Rand:

    Concept:

    A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.

    A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition. By organizing his perceptual material into concepts, and his concepts into wider and still wider concepts, man is able to grasp and retain, to identify and integrate an unlimited amount of knowledge, a knowledge extending beyond the immediate concretes of any given, immediate moment.

    Existence:

    Websters:

    1913 edition:

    1. The state of existing or being; actual possession of being; continuance in being; as, the existence of body and of soul in union; the separate existence of the soul; immortal existence.

    The main object of our existence. Lubbock.
    2. Continued or repeated manifestation; occurrence, as of events of any kind; as, the existence of a calamity or of a state of war.

    The existence therefore, of a phenomenon, is but another word for its being perceived, or for the inferred possibility of perceiving it. J. S. Mill.
    3. That which exists; a being; a creature; an entity; as, living existences.

    1828 edition:

    EXIST”ENCE, n. The state of being or having essence; as the existence of body and of soul in union; the separate existence of the soul; immortal existence; temporal existence.

    1. Life; animation.

    2. Continued being; duration; continuation. We speak of the existence of troubles or calamities, or of happiness. During the existence of national calamities, our pious ancestors always had recourse to prayer for divine aid.

    Ayn Rand:

    To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of nonexistence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes.

    Existence is a self-sufficient primary. It is not a product of a supernatural dimension, or of anything else. There is nothing antecedent to existence, nothing apart from it—and no alternative to it. Existence exists—and only existence exists. Its existence and its nature are irreducible and unalterable.

  174. tony c:

    “What we mean by an “explanation” is a description of a simplifying predictive model. It isn’t really an explanation if it doesn’t capture some element of prediction that distinguishes one outcome from another outcome. When we say a statement explains something, it has to provide predictive guidance for the future. If the prediction is better than chance but still an imperfect predictor, we call that an approximation of the truth. If it is no better than chance, we call it a non-explanation, if it predicts the opposite of what it claims, we call it a lie, in various degrees.”

    How can something provide predictive guidance but still be an imperfect predictor? If we are talking about physical properties and natural laws, such as gravity, how is that possible? If I drop a ball in Virginia, that predicts perfectly how a ball dropped in Germany will perform.

    All existents have specific properties/attributes associated with them and they behave in reality in accordance with their nature. Those properties can be used to perfectly determine the behavior of other similar existents.

    For example take planetary rotation around a sun, the earth revolves around the sun, therefore I pretty confident that another planet in a far away galaxy revolves around its sun.

    Can you please explain to me what you mean so I can understand?

  175. Otteray Scribe:

    and maybe government just spends too much money on things we dont need.

    And if we took all the rich people’s money it would not run the government for 1 year.

  176. @Bron: How can something provide predictive guidance but still be an imperfect predictor? If we are talking about physical properties and natural laws, such as gravity, how is that possible? If I drop a ball in Virginia, that predicts perfectly how a ball dropped in Germany will perform.

    Okay. Take the phrases, “what goes up, must come down,” and the phrase, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” With regard to gravity on Earth, those are predictive statements, but not perfectly accurate. Nearly everything in common experience that temporarily defies gravity does in fact succumb to it; and although massive things fall at the same rate as less massive things, the impact is greater for massive things.

    Are they perfectly accurate? No. Neither were Galileo’s computations for gravitational acceleration, or Newton’s gravity.

    On the roulette wheel, I can give you the rule that the odds of the ball landing on black are equal to the odds of landing on red. Will that be precisely true over 1000 runs? Almost definitely not, but approximately so. It is a predictive rule, it will approximate reality even if reality never matches it.

    Take your own statement: therefore I [am] pretty confident that another planet in a far away galaxy revolves around its sun.

    Your own statement demotes “perfectly predicts” to “pretty confident.”

    Correctly so, not all planets rotate around suns, unless you make that a prerequisite of being a planet, in which case it is an empty tautology saying “objects that rotate around suns rotate around suns.” However, if that is not part of the definition, then in our own solar system Titan is larger than Mercury (by 370 kilometers or so) but rotates around Saturn. If rotating around the sun is not a prerequisite to being a planet, I would like to know why Mercury counts as a planet but Titan is not.

    Taking another direction, what specific attributes does a planet have that includes Mercury but excludes Titan? I suggest the alternative, that “planet” is something real but so amorphously defined that it has no specific nature or attributes; only a general nature and general attributes that may or may not be present, but if enough are missing we no longer call it a planet. The same is true for “people.” They obviously exist, but have no guaranteed attributes or nature. Is a person in a vegetative coma “people?” Is a person without limbs “people?”

    By your own statement, the model you have of planets is probabilistic. So are all mental models, like our mental models of “people.” This is why we get troubled by ambiguity; Is a candle without a wick still a candle? Is a wick alone a candle?

    The fact of probabilistic models puts the lie to the next statement:

    All existents have specific properties/attributes associated with them and they behave in reality in accordance with their nature.

    That is just drivel. Why call something an “existent” if what you mean is “thing?” That is a serious question; what is the difference in your mind between an “existent” and a “thing,” or “real thing?”

    Not all things even have specific properties associated with them, some things are quite amorphous. Is romantic love real? Is rage real? Is physical pain real? Is imagination real? Is a “problem” real?

    What is the specific property associated with “pain” that is not just a relabeling of pain?

    Those properties can be used to perfectly determine the behavior of other similar existents.

    See, that is just illogical. Similar is not synonymous with identical, thus similarity necessarily implies differences, which makes it illogical to believe that properties perfectly determine behavior. It assumes the differences do not matter, but that is obviously untrue For example, Pomeranians have four legs and run, so do cheetahs. The cheetah runs at 60 miles per hour; should I predict a pomeranian could run at 60 miles per hour?

    To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of nonexistence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes.

    Neither your old dictionaries or Rand tell us how to distinguish something that exists from something that doesn’t, so both are just synonyms, that assume you already know what “being” is. The more recent New Lexicon Webster’s Encyclopedic dictionary on my shelf also relies on that but is better; “the state of being in actuality; to be real.”

    It doesn’t say anything about specific nature or specific> attributes or properties. Do motives exist? Yes they do. What is their specific nature, pray tell? And don’t get circular, do not just give me synonyms for “motive.” What are the specific attributes of romantic love? Is that even something we can get 100% agreement upon by a million people?

    This introduction of specificity is one way Rand tries to limit her discussion to those things she can comprehend as a sociopath. What she cannot comprehend and did not feel was love, empathy, or sympathy. This is why her fiction dismisses those as weak-minded, brainwashing, etc; as the author with godly powers within her imagined world, she wanted to believe her own mind was “strong” and “superior.” So she interpreted her mental disability as an immunity, and portrays with disdain the feelings she never felt as some kind of disease she never contracted, due to her “strength.”

  177. Otteray Scribe:And if we took all the rich people’s money it would not run the government for 1 year.

    Obama said that was irrelevant because taking their money was fair, ie, destructive.

  178. tony c:

    I would say an attribute of a planet is that it rotates on its axis and revolves around a sun. Among others.

    A Pomeranian as a living being has a heart, lungs, eyes, ears, a brain, kidneys, etc. As a living being a Cheetah has the same things as all higher animals and especially mammals must have. A Cheetahs speed is a property/attribute which separates it from a Pomeranian. 4 legs identify both animals as quadrupeds but does not provide information about how fast either runs.

    The digestive tracts of all the higher animals are similar and work in similar ways. Peristalsis, microbial decomposition of food, etc.

  179. Neuromancer
    >Are they perfectly accurate? No. Neither were Galileo’s computations for gravitational acceleration, or Newton’s gravity.

    Youre sneaking in God again, this time as “perfectly accurate,” perfect being beyond man’s allegedly imperfect knowledge. Epistemological perfection is contextual (not subjective), the product of man’s mind logically focused onto reality. In the context of their knowledge, Galileo and Newton were perfectly accurate. Its a religious, pseudo-scientific absurdity to condemn man for lacking divine omniscience. Sailboats are not as reliable and fast as motorboats yet, for millenia, they transported people and cargo. They were a perfect application of man’s knowledge before motorboats. Your condemnation of man’s knowledge is a condemnation of man’s mind, ie, religion, because it fails to live up to your religious ideal of effortless knowledge, ie, mysticism.

  180. Stephen Grossman:

    can you speak to thought? What exactly is thought?

    As Tony C asks “is rage real”? If you are on the receiving end it sure looks real.

    Are thoughts real? I would say yes. And they certainly exist as this post proves.

  181. I will point out there is another reason for the Aynish language redefinitions, and that is to act as a badge that let the Aynish to recognize their philosophical brethren, so their brethren will support them or cut them some slack. It is like the not-so-secret handshake in the club; and the reason for Stephen’s impenetrable language: He doesn’t care if anybody understands him, he just wants to shout “Rand Is Great!” to see if any fellow Aynish are about. That is in addition to the fact that they cannot argue in plain language lest they seem stupid. For most of them, I doubt they even understand Rand in plain language, I suspect instead rote recitation of her magic phrasing, which saves them from having to think for themselves.

  182. >[Neuronman]On the roulette wheel, I can give you the rule that the odds of the ball landing on black are equal to the odds of landing on red.

    Youre dropping the context of your perfect knowledge that spinning roulette wheels will move a ball dropped on them, that the dropped ball will bounce around, and that math can perfectly, within some context, predict probability.
    Lacking such knowledge, you could not predict. You know causes, on that base, identify probability and then deny your knowledge of causes. You dont expect the roulette wheel to sing opera because you know the roulette wheel as cause.

    >an empty tautology saying “objects that rotate around suns rotate around suns.”

    Your rejection of the metaphysics of identity destroys science. Everything is an identity and its actions are the actions of that identity. Prior to Aristotle’s discovery of the principle of Non-contradiction, people did not know that a thing is what it is. They thought contradictions possible. A tautology is a statement of identity.

    >only a general nature and general attributes that may or may not be present, but if enough are missing we no longer call it a planet.

    Isnt it fortunate then, for those who value scientific objectivity, that Aristotle, based on Socrates’ use of observed similarities and differences for definition, discovered the rules of definition? Your comment merely rationalizes out-of-focus learning.

    >That is just drivel. Why call something an “existent” if what you mean is “thing?” That is a serious question; what is the difference in your mind between an “existent” and a “thing,” or “real thing?”

    Your irrationalist hatred of science is clear. An existent is anything which exists, physical or mental. Rocks and my memory of yesterday exist. The words used to symbolize concepts are arbitrary and convention and, objectively, consistent. Call it thing or existent. If you want to limit the word, thing, to physical things, thats a rational option but be explicit.

    >Not all things even have specific properties associated with them, some things are quite amorphous. Is romantic love real? Is rage real? Is physical pain real? Is imagination real? Is a “problem” real?

    _Associated_ with them?! The properties of a tree are the tree. A thing literally is its properties except within mysticism and subjectivism. Existence is identity. A thing is itself. Things are definitely, absolutely, what they are, regardless of the difficulty in knowing the limits some things. Eg, clouds.
    In such cases, specify a range of properties. Then you move from denying or being confused by existents to wondering which existents are real. But those are two issues. Whether love is real is different from its existence. Love exists, with its properties and actions, whatever they may be. Philosophy provides the observation-based conceptual framework of existence, identity, consciousness and causality. Science then studies particular and particular classes of existents, etc. Prior to Aristolte, man had only rationally unorganized patterns of existents. Aristotle discovered the basics of systematic reasoning. The modern rejection of Aristotle is returning man to the primitive cognition of arbitrary groups and coincidences, w/no knowledge of what to do with his knowledge. Modern man stares, unfocused, at the universe. His psychology responds w/the cognitive warning signs, w/chronic anxiety and chronic depression. Those warn, not of a physical danger, but of a psycho-epistemological danger, a misused mind. Primitive man was honestly ignorant before Aristotle. Modern man knows about Aristotle ,if only implicitly via our scientific-industrial civilization, and rejects him. Modern man is guilty and there are many claims now, among subjectivists, of Original Sin. But, as Rand said, its originated sin, the evasion of reason.

  183. @Bron: You are changing the subject. It was you that said similarity allowed perfect prediction, now you are just repeating what I had to point out to you, that the similarity between Pomeranians and Cheetahs really predicts nothing at all.

    That is a general truth for all similarity, it means nothing without its partner, differentiation. The two of them together imply “model,” which is a simplification that captures the important similarities and differences and excludes the noise of details. What is “important” is what makes a difference in outcome, usage, motivations, intent or future action.

    For example, shall we punish a man for killing another man? It doesn’t depend on the fact of killing, it depends on the model we apply to his actions. Was he a soldier on the battlefield? Defending himself? Defending somebody else? Or a criminal?

    That model does not depend on reality or objects, it depends on his state of mind, and really, what HIS model of the situation was; whether he believed he was serving his nation, preventing a rape, or trying to rob a tourist for some drug money.

  184. Okay, that was hastily said; a state of mind is real, and a real thing. It is just not an observable real thing; we can only infer it.

  185. @Stephen: Your irrationalist hatred of science is clear. An existent is anything which exists,

    Your irrationalist hatred of using normal words is clear. Answer the question, why use the word “existent” when “thing” will do and is more clear? What is the point of the jargon? Does it make you feel better? Does it make you feel SMARTER? Or is it just a subterfuge to couch your drivel in jargon so people aren’t sure if there may be a difference between “existent” used as a noun and “thing,” thereby protecting it from attack?

  186. SG simply assumes too much about people he does not know, he already knows what we are with not much evidence or experience. We are figments of his imagination, nothing more or less.

    No one, I repeat, no one on this thread has condemned mans knowledge. wtf gave you that idea? It is absurd.

  187. @Stephen: Your rejection of the metaphysics

    I reject all metaphysics, I do not believe there is anything beyond physics. I am not just an atheist, I am a non-super-naturalist. I am also a professional scientist. I could not destroy science if I tried, although that is certainly what you seem to be trying by promoting your juvenile philosophy.

  188. Grossman:
    First of all, Bron made the quote which you erroneously attributed to me.

    Second, you wrote: “Obama said that was irrelevant because taking their money was fair, ie, destructive.”

    *********************************

    Please provide a link to where the President EVER said anything remotely like that. Linkee thingee, please?

  189. Bron, I would happily give up a war or two, and maybe even an aircraft carrier or two if the Republicans will keep their hands off of health care and retirement funds. Defense is one thing. Keeping the military-industrial complex fully funded at the expense of education, infrastructure rebuilding and health care for the people is obscene.

  190. @Bron: I would say an attribute of a planet is that it rotates on its axis and revolves around a sun.

    Thus my point; of course you can be certain that all planets in remote galaxies rotate around suns, because if they don’t then they aren’t planets, by your very definition!

    But a definitional certainty means nothing, Bron. I can define a “Bukklebee” as any object with gold concealed inside of it, and then claim absolute certainty that all Bukklebees have gold concealed inside of them. Now, does that help us in any way to know anything new or predict anything?

    No. It is a children’s pastime, and precisely the sort of thing Rand engages in; purposely redefining words so that her conclusions are proven by her redefinitions.

    This is also how religious arguments are formulated, by first secretly reasoning backward from one’s desired outcome to a sufficiently vague but necessary starting conditions, then publicly stating these starting conditions as axiomatic, and reasoning forward again to the desired outcome. It is a little magic trick, or more accurately, a con.

  191. Otteray Scribe
    1, December 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm
    provide a link to where the President EVER said anything remotely like
    that. Linkee thingee, please?

    The Fascist-In-Chief said it was fair. I identified his meaning, destructive. Hes a nihilist, committed to destruction but handing out lollipops to distract compromisers.

  192. Tony C.
    1, December 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm
    @Stephen: Your rejection of the metaphysics

    I reject all metaphysics, I do not believe there is anything beyond physics. I am not just an atheist, I am a non-super-naturalist. I am also a professional scientist. I could not destroy science if I tried, although that is certainly what you seem to be trying by promoting your juvenile philosophy.

    Metaphysics is the study of existence as a whole or the fundamental facts of existence. Your discussion of thing, existents, etc, is metaphysics. Everyone has a metaphysics, explicit or not. You can attempt to evade it but your rationalization of evasion necessarily contains a metaphysics. Physics, the study of matter and energy, is an application of some metaphysics, eg, an ordered (identity, causality) universe or the universe as randomness. Etc.

    Your epistemological appeal to unknowable perfection is a restatement of the supernatural. You and your fellow scientific frauds have gone a long way in reducing science to arbitrary description of observation for arbitrary, short-range purposes, evading concepts and causality, ie, science. Youre a professional pseudo-scientific whore.

  193. shano
    1, December 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm
    >SG simply assumes too much about people he does not know, he already knows what we are with not much evidence or experience. We are figments of his imagination, nothing more or less.

    Knowledge is hierarchical. Thinking about car repair is based on the idea of car, regardless of explicit denial. Philosophers, since Plato’s discovery of hierarchy, have been able to infer context from scattered, poorly stated ideas.

    >No one, I repeat, no one on this thread has condemned mans knowledge. wtf gave you that idea? It is absurd.

    Tony C says we observe something that is not real and that we dont conceptualize it. Hes a nihilist opponent of mind, reducing man to mere observation or even sensation.

  194. Tony C
    >why use the word “existent” when “thing” will do and is more clear?

    You dont exist but you thing. Is that the clarity you seek? Your evasion of man’s mind reduces you to impotence, a situation in which the existence of things is a threat to your evasion. Given the Greek, ousia, for thing, you suffer from ousiaphobia.

  195. Zombie (body w/o mind, ie, behaviorist Tony C)
    Rand …did not feel…love, empathy, or sympathy.

    Yes, in your hidden context of sacrifice. But she valued them in the context of selfishness. Nail yourself to a cross and stop pretending to science. Youre a religionist.

  196. “The building-block of man’s knowledge is the concept of an “existent”—of something that exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action. Since it is a concept, man cannot grasp it explicitly until he has reached the conceptual stage. But it is implicit in every percept (to perceive a thing is to perceive that it exists) and man grasps it implicitly on the perceptual level—i.e., he grasps the constituents of the concept “existent,” the data which are later to be integrated by that concept. It is this implicit knowledge that permits his consciousness to develop further.”

    “To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of nonexistence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was—no matter what his errors—the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.”

    “One can study what exists and how consciousness functions; but one cannot analyze (or “prove”) existence as such, or consciousness as such. These are irreducible primaries. (An attempt to “prove” them is self-contradictory: it is an attempt to “prove” existence by means of nonexistence, and consciousness by means of unconsciousness.)”
    Rand

  197. @Stephen: But she valued them in the context of selfishness.

    “Metaphysics” uses the “Meta-” prefix which means “beyond the usual,” I do not believe there is any physics but physics. There is no physics above the “usual” physics.

    They [love, empathy, sympathy] do not exist in the context of selfishness.

    If you want to call it sacrifice, feel free, because that is not a pejorative term to anybody but the Aynish living their empty lives caring only for themselves and nothing else (because they do not feel love, empathy, or sympathy).

    Which is a pity; but I do not believe any help exists for those such as Ayn, they are born with deformed minds, like a form of blindness that will never let them actually feel what 98% of the planet believes defines life. So like Ayn, they come to despise that kind of sight in the normals and try to label it a weakness, a handicap holding the normals back.

  198. @Stephen: The building-block of man’s knowledge is the concept of an “existent”

    No, it isn’t. The building block of man’s knowledge is the human neuron and how those are organized; and we know quite a bit about that, and it cannot be reconciled with the Aynish “concept” or other BS she claims about how the human mind works. She starts with false premises and arrives at false conclusions. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  199. Zombie
    >Rand tries to limit her discussion to those things she can comprehend as a sociopath.

    Personal attacks are illogical, an evasion of ideas.

    This is a rationalization of the sacrifice of independent judgment, in self and others, to social approval. Sociopathy is the resulting psychology, the inability to respect others basic need, independent judgment, by destroying people who make independent judgments. Eg, Progressive education, politics. As an opponent of personal attack, I dont claim that youre insane. I dont care. Your ideas contradict the needs of man’s life. The necessary effect on your psychology is of no concern to me.

  200. @Stephen: Personal attacks are illogical, an evasion of ideas.

    Hilarious; in a post addressed to “Zombie.” The perfect illustration of your hypocrisy and illogic.

    @Stephen: This is a rationalization of the sacrifice of independent judgment, in self and others, to social approval.

    No, it isn’t. A man sacrifices his life to save his post-menopausal wife; we have seen this happen recently. Only the Aynish believe he was deluded to value somebody else’s life more than his own, only the Aynish think he was brainwashed by society. The other 98% of us realize he felt love.

    A soldier sacrifices his life to save his brothers-in-arms. Only the Aynish try to recast that as a selfish act. And in doing so, they remove all meaning from the word “selfish,” because the twisted logic that makes knowingly dying to preserve the lives of friends with no blood relation a “selfish” act can be used to characterize everything as a selfish act. Thus there is no such thing as a non-selfish act, and “selfish act” is synonymous with “act,” and there is no such thing as an act of “sacrifice,” because every act is a selfish act.

    This is what I mean when I say the Aynish have their own definitions. Their own definitions of love, sacrifice, selfishness, that rob the words of their original meaning as understood by 98% of the world (in their native languages, of course).

    It is YOUR ideas that contradict the needs of man’s life; because for the non-psychopaths, the “sacrificial” emotions you deride are what hold the normal people together; they are the glue of the society you do not believe in, and in fact the inability of the Aynish to feel those binding emotions are the reason they do not believe in society in the first place.

  201. Zombie
    @Stephen: Personal attacks are illogical, an evasion of ideas.

    >Hilarious; in a post addressed to “Zombie.” The perfect illustration of your hypocrisy and illogic.

    My remark is a proud, upfront insult, not a back alley reduction of ideas to psychology. Its also an example of your ideas.

    @Stephen: This is a rationalization of the sacrifice of independent judgment, in self and others, to social approval.

    >*No, it isn’t.

    Your context of knowledge is social approval and an opposition to “redefinition,” ie, independent judgment.

    >Thus there is no such thing as a non-selfish act, and “selfish act” is synonymous with “act,” and there is no such thing as an act of “sacrifice,” because every act is a selfish act.

    You remain as magnificantly ignorant of Rand’s ethics as the day we began debating some time ago. Rand rejects the fallacy of psychological egoism.
    Youre arguing about words, not concepts. The subtitle of her _Virtue Of Selfishness_ is _A New Theory Of Egoism_. New, not the conventional theory you ignorantly attack and which Rand explicitly rejects. Youre as intellectually paralyzed by mere words as a follower of voodoo. You evade my frequent statements of Rands new view of selfishness.

    “There is a fundamental moral difference between a man who sees his self-interest in production and a man who sees it in robbery. The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest; not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value; not in the fact that he wants to live, but in the fact that he wants to live on a subhuman level (see “The Objectivist Ethics”).”
    Rand

    >This is what I mean when I say the Aynish have their own definitions. Their own definitions of love, sacrifice, selfishness, that rob the words of their original meaning as understood by 98% of the world (in their native languages, of course).

    Ive repeatedly said this. How stupid did you have to make yourself to think I would deny it?

    >It is YOUR ideas that contradict the…. the “sacrificial” emotions you deride are what hold the normal people together

    You change from ethics (needs of man’s life) to politics (hold the normal people together). Thus your ethics is not for man’s life but for society. Your ethics has no advice for man the individual, only for man the unit of society, as Pink Floyd sang it, “another brick in the wall.” Youre a collectivist ,like Hitler and Stalin, whatever the differences of degree. You have no ethics in the strict sense.

    >the inability of the Aynish to feel those binding emotions are the reason they do not believe in society in the first place.

    Rand’s major fiction, Atlas Shrugged, is (non-basically) about an ideal society & has been widely condemned, including by you, for advocating a capitalist society. Rand never said, implied or suggested an asocial ethics. Youve previously denied that the first sacrifice of altruism is the mind but your comments deny your denial. You make yourself stupid to accept altruism because it has no rational base. You must evade to accept it.
    You use your free will to evade, the free will denied in your view of man’s psychology.

  202. @Stephen: Your context of knowledge is social approval and an opposition to “redefinition,”

    More hilarity. My context of knowledge is as the biological mechanism that it is, and a particularly noisy mechanism at that.

    My opposition to “redefinition” is an opposition to subterfuge and purposely misleading use of words that Rand engaged in, which suckered you into being her property and acting on her behalf long after she is dead.

    My opposition to “redefinition” is simply advocacy for clear thinking and clear communications; the Aynish redefine words not to enlighten, but to obscure, not to win a fair debate, but to trick and confuse, not to increase knowledge but to decrease and defeat it for their own selfish ends.

    Professionals invent jargon as a shorthand, when they invent words or acronyms those are defined as shorthand for a particular set of relationships that have some meaning.

    Which means, for the layman, arguments can be made in plain english, it is just a longer process to unravel the jargon. That is what we professionals do when we describe things for laymen, as we often must do.

    Redefining an existing word is always a matter of subterfuge; it is an attempt to invoke the original meaning combined with deniability when people try to attack the logic based on the original meaning; it is a way of having your cake and eating it too. An argument that cannot be won in plain English using the plain dictionary meaning of words is simply an invalid argument, and any insistence upon using jargon, or redefined words, is evidence of either stupidity or the intent to mislead and confuse in order to win the argument.

  203. Tony C.
    1, December 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    >“Metaphysics” uses the “Meta-” prefix which means “beyond the usual,” I do not believe there is any physics but physics. There is no physics above the “usual” physics.

    Youre arguing words, not concepts. “Metaphysics” originated from an ancient editor of Aristotle, who placed his study of “first philosophy” after his study of physics in a book, as a chapter 2 follows a chapter one. Metaphysics means the study of the universe as a whole, the necessary context of the special sciences.

    “Metaphysics identifies the nature of the universe as a whole. It tells men what kind of world they live in, and whether there is a supernatural dimension beyond it. It tells men whether they live in a world of solid entities, natural laws, absolute facts, or in a world of illusory fragments, unpredictable miracles, and ceaseless flux. It tells men whether the things they perceive by their senses and mind form a comprehensible reality, with which they can deal, or some kind of unreal appearance, which leaves them staring and helpless.”
    Rand

    “Are you in a universe which is ruled by natural laws and, therefore, is stable, firm, absolute—and knowable? Or are you in an incomprehensible chaos, a realm of inexplicable miracles, an unpredictable, unknowable flux, which your mind is impotent to grasp? Are the things you see around you real—or are they only an illusion? Do they exist independent of any observer—or are they created by the observer? Are they the object or the subject of man’s consciousness? Are they what they are—or can they be changed by a mere act of your consciousness, such as a wish?

    Science, the rationally principled, systematic study of natural causes, cannot even get started until man accepts the metaphysics of existence, identity and
    causality and the epistemology of perception as valid and concepts as logical/volitional integrations of percepts. Mystics and subjectivists have no intellectual framework or even motive for science.

    >If you want to call it sacrifice, feel free, because that is not a pejorative term to anybody but the Aynish living their empty lives caring only for themselves and nothing else (because they do not feel love, empathy, or sympathy).

    The advocates of sacrifice call it sacrifice as do you in saying its not pejorative. Your contradictions are becoming thicker, like raindrops on a window. That way lies madness!

    Then you argue words again, instead of concepts, in attacking, AS DID RAND!, conventional selfishness and the conventional denial of conventional selfishness. Conventionally, ethically, man has only a choice of self without others or others without self. But rational selfishness includes other people as selfish values, trading selfish value for selfish value, in ,eg, work and sex. You imply that a selfish man who loves a woman would be selfish to ignore her, that he would be selfless to have a relationship with her. This is not so much perverse as willfully stupid. Altruism demands first the sacrifice of the mind. Selflessness reduces man to practical and intellectual chaos, which is why our culture is changing from liberal disintegration to religious misintegration.

    Man needs as a framework for his thinking and, ignorant of or rejecting a rational framework, man has historically returned to religion after eras of subjectivism. Your pseudo-scientific rejection of consciousness leaves man with the ancient religious claim that its mystical, beyond reason. Everyone is conscious of their consciousness of reality and thus need a rational view of it, the view you will not provide. The irony is that behaviorism is merely a restatement of the religious mind/body split.

    > I do not believe any help exists for those such as Ayn, they are born with deformed minds, like a form of blindness that will never let them actually feel what 98% of the planet believes defines life.

    The anti-conceptual, anti-volition mentality thats part of religion, is also part of your materialist pseudo-science. Your hidden religion cant refute Rand so you evade her truths by rationalizing the acceptance of her ideas as determined and as contradicting your stand-in for God, popularity.

  204. @Stephen: Youre arguing words, not concepts.

    Precisely, because we cannot agree on the words, and you have your own loopy Aynish definition of “concepts,” and I won’t play by your (or her) idiotic definitions. As I said, I know she reverse-engineered her definitions to lead to her false conclusions; I am not naive enough to fall into a child’s word trap. As you were.

  205. Grossman,

    You did not respond to my question. You just doubled down on the ad hominem. Where did President Obama say anything even remotely like you claimed? Every speech and interview he has ever done is somewhere on the internet, either in text or a video. If you are so certain he said that, give us a link. Furthermore, I do not like things taken out of context and pasted together like a bad ransom note in a B grade movie.

  206. Raff, I know that, but he would never admit it. It is easier to make up stuff and attack the President than to engage in a reasoned argument or explanation.

  207. Tony C.
    1, December 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm
    @Stephen: Youre arguing words, not concepts.

    >Precisely, because we cannot agree on the words

    I’ll agree to your words if they symbolize Rand’s concepts. You can name Rand’s concept, selfishness, by any word you please. Call it “chopped liver.” I don’t care. Im not into voodoo. But note, concepts have a specific identity, definition, systematic relation to all of one’s other concepts ,and the concretes of the universe. Concepts are not models of perceived patterns. So name away. Feel free. This is your thing, ie, the arbitrary and conventional.

  208. Otteray Scribe
    1, December 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm
    >Where did President Obama say anything even remotely like you claimed?

    Repeating my prior answer, he said raising taxes on the rich was “fair” even tho he knew that it was trivial relative to the debt. I heard a talk on this but dont recall where. Its not critical to my recognition of his nihilism, evidence for which is almost any day’s news. As New Leftist, he has no absolute moral values, ie, will sacrifice all values for the sake of sacrifice itself. He’s intellectually lost, as a modernist/nihilist, inside his consciousness. As Cream sang, “And you know what you know in your head.”

  209. Stephen Grossman:

    “As New Leftist, he has no absolute moral values, ie, will sacrifice all values for the sake of sacrifice itself.”

    can you expand on this. Are you saying sacrifice is the ultimate end of leftist philosophy? It seems it is the philosophy of conservatives as well. We have been sacrificing our blood and treasure for almost 12 years with nothing to show for it except broken men, broken families, childless parents, parent-less children, an expanding, rights negating government which is basically broke.

    What a monument to altruism.

  210. Bron,
    > Are you saying sacrifice is the ultimate end of leftist philosophy? It seems it is the philosophy of conservatives as well.

    Yes, liberals dont limit sacrifice. Conservatives limit sacrifice w/God, claiming that Heaven is the reward (or 78 virgins if youre Muslim).

  211. Tony C.
    1, December 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm
    >I know she reverse-engineered her definitions to lead to her false conclusions;

    You know this how? Revelation? Public opinion polls? Rand’s explicit and systematic study of definitions in her Epistemology proves, once again, your intellectual fraud.

    “To know the exact meaning of the concepts one is using, one must know their correct definitions, one must be able to retrace the specific (logical, not chronological) steps by which they were formed, and one must be able to demonstrate their connection to their [*]base in perceptual reality[*].”
    Rand

    Rand rejects rationalism, the floating pseudo-abstractions at the base of your empiricist quackery, for reason.

  212. TONY C:

    empiricist quackery?

    3: a theory that all knowledge originates in experience

    the practices or pretensions of a quack

    1: charlatan 2

    2: one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability

    are you making showy pretenses to knowledge which only originates in experience?

  213. @Stephen: I’ll agree to your words if they symbolize Rand’s concepts.

    No, I do not think I will play by your rules; you are demanding I learn your moon language in order to debate with you and I refuse to do that. I will debate Rand’s concepts when you translate them into plain English with common dictionary definition.

    As I said before, redefining or adding to the definitions of existing words is evidence enough of fraud; it misleads those that understand the common meaning of the word. You are a fraud, Grossman, or the victim of a fraud, which is what Rand is. How do I know she was a fraud? By means you do not comprehend, apparently, inference and logic and the scientific training (and natural inclination) to question the accuracy of every line I read when somebody is making grand claims. She is a fraud; and the reinvention of language and inability to speak in plain English is a hallmark of that kind of fraud.

    I can explain five dimensional integrals to ninth graders in a way they can understand in words they already know, I do not need to resort to jargon or definitions or word inventions to do that. I can do that because I am intelligent enough to translate, and I know the work inside out.

    The fact that you cannot discuss Rand without using Rand’s reinvented language is all the evidence I need to know you do not really understand it, and all you can do is spout her writing. Which means it is pointless to argue with you because you have no independent judgment, all you have is a list of responses, insults, and a memorization of Aynish dogma. That’s it; you are no different than a religious zealot quoting the Bible at every turn. Different books, same rote mindset of letting somebody else (Ayn Rand) do your thinking for you.

  214. @Bron: I am not sure what you are asking.

    Knowledge does not only originate in experience, unless you count reason and inference within your head as “experience.” I do not.

    It may also depend on how you define “knowledge.” If you are presented with a new problem, and then invent a new surefire way to solve it, you know something that is not a result of experience.

    There are many things we infer, and new relationships (in people or things) that we see that are not based on experience; I consider that “knowledge” gained without experience. Some things logically follow. Take for example the “knowledge” that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun. At the time that is first “known” by a given culture (and has been independently known by several), it cannot possibly be based on some experience of seeing the solar system from on high. It is always inferred, by some genius that mentally invents it as the simplifying model that fits all the known data.

    Of course knowing that data is a result of sensory experience, and I doubt a brain without any senses whatsoever develops any knowledge. So you will have to be more specific by what you mean for “experience” and “knowledge.”

  215. Tony, whenever I am in a discussion with a strict behaviorist, they always seem to explain all learning as a purely cognitive learning process. If you want to stump a behaviorist, ask them how a young person learns the concept of “Justice.” The list of similar abstract concepts is endless.

  216. Zombie
    1, December 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm
    @Stephen: I’ll agree to your words if they symbolize Rand’s concepts.

    > I will debate Rand’s concepts when you translate them into plain English with common dictionary definition.

    You merely restate anew your destructive reduction of science to convention. Your intellectual fraud continues. Rands main concepts are new discoveries, not yet sufficiently influential to be in dictionaries. They can be reduced, back down the conceptual hierarchy, to the perception of concrete reality.

    >You are a fraud, Grossman

    Relative to your anti-conceptual, humiliating submission to convention, yes.
    Everything exists, within a limit.

    >How do I know she was a fraud? By means you do not comprehend,

    O Priest, initiated into the Mysteries of Isis and Ra, tell us humble folk of your revelations from the supernatural. You would have made a good priest in ancient Egypt. They were pleased by their rituals because they were unchanged even in details for centuries.

    > inference and logic and the scientific training

    These are products of a conceptual/volitional mind in perceptual contact with concrete reality. They are not floating abstractions (deduced from arbitrary axioms) used to subjectively organize perceptual associations. Science as done by Newton, as a perceptually grounded, conceptually organized, induced study of causes, is done and gone except in those parts of science too close to the concrete to be, so far, presently corrupted. The study of man without a mind is a case in point.

    >(and natural inclination)

    So then the Devil, uh, your neurons, made you do it? Youre not morally praiseworthy for “your” achievements (or destructiveness)? Youre consistent, tho. I must give credit for that.

    > I can explain five dimensional integrals to ninth graders in a way they can understand in words they already know

    Your intellectual corruption extends beyond university students to children with their partially developed minds. Your rationalism is influential in schools now for environmentalism, feminism, egalitarianism, multiculturalism, etc., partly as a corrupt corrective to the empiricist mindlessness of memorizing a chaos of meaningless, superficial, unintegrated facts. Again, reason starts in the perception of concretes and abstracts from them, step by step w/evidence valid for each step, in an unbroken hierarchy to wider or more precise concepts. Thats how Newton went from astronomical observations to universal gravity. Reason does not start in rationalist floating abstractions. Those children that you are conceptually disintegrating do not have the conceptual power or knowledge to understand such very abstract concepts. That takes years of step by step education in facts and method. Their alleged understanding is merely memory and symbol manipulation. This is the method of indoctrination of Nazis, Marxists and religionists.

    “[The] enemies of reason seem to know that integration is the psycho-epistemological key to reason . . . and that if reason is to be destroyed, it is man’s integrating capacity that has to be destroyed.” Rand

    > you are no different than a religious zealot quoting the Bible at every turn.

    And yet, curiously enough, I reduce Rand’s ideas to their base in observation. And I show how the mind works by volitional abstractions, not a passively empty mind waiting for a transcendental revelations. Try that with a burning bush or manna from heaven. Empiricists reject both reason and mysticism because both go beyond perception, one to abstractions from perception and the other to rationalized emotions.

    “There are two different methods of learning: by memorizing and by understanding. The first belongs primarily to the perceptual level of a human consciousness, the second to the conceptual.” Rand

    “The first is achieved by means of repetition and concrete-bound association (a process in which one sensory concrete leads automatically to another, with no regard to content or meaning). The best illustration of this process is a song…called “Mairzy Doats.” Try to recall some poem you had to memorize in grade school; you will find that you can recall it only if you recite the sounds automatically, by the “Mairzy Doats” method; if you focus on the meaning, the memory vanishes. This form of learning is shared with man by the higher animals: all animal training consists of making the animal memorize a series of actions by repetition and association.” Rand

    “The second method of learning—by a process of understanding—is possible only to man. To understand means to focus on the content of a given subject (as against the sensory—visual or auditory—form in which it is communicated), to isolate its essentials, to establish its relationship to the previously known, and to integrate it with the appropriate categories of other subjects. Integration is the essential part of understanding.” Rand

  217. Otteray Scribe
    1, December 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm
    For a Randian to accuse somebody else of being a nihilist is laughable. Especially in the context that it is a “bad thing.” That word does not mean what you think it means, apparently.

    If you feel bad, take a pill.

  218. Zombie
    >It is always inferred, by some genius that mentally invents it as the simplifying model that fits all the known data.

    Astronomical observations were fit into floating, formal math, without induction of causes, until the concept-driven rise of modern science. Contemporary science, eg, string theory, big bang, alternate universes, is regressing to pre-Newtonian saving of the appearances with bloated Ptolemaic epicycles explaining nothing. Math is regressing to a rationalization of “beauty, “elegance,” etc., ie, the number mysticism of Plato and Pythagoras. Justice is seven. Its a method for evading concrete reality.

  219. Zombie
    > I can explain five dimensional integrals to ninth graders in a way they can understand in words they already know

    Romans started education with grammar split from reality, at first to teach political rhetoric and then ,later, to study language itself. Roman education rejected the Greek purpose of education, life, for duty. This was consistent with the growing religiousity of Rome, of the spirit over matter. There is no practical purpose of five dimensional integrals for young teens. They need arithmetic, geometry, algebra, etc. to measure the concrete reality which they know. They dont know enough about concrete reality to have any need for your rationalist nonsense. They cant logically reduce the abstractions to the concrete. Its a transcendental world that youre teaching. Youre a priest.

  220. tony c:

    Stephen is right about the integrals and young children. How are you going to integrate a cone if you dont know what it is?

    you can teach young children Shakespeare but they havent had the emotional/life experience/vocabulary to understand much of it.

    I bet a parrot can also tell you how to do an integral.

  221. Bron,

    “How are you going to integrate a cone if you dont know what it is?”

    And you’re a civil engineer? One doesn’t integrate cones, one observes the shapes dependent on the angle the cross section is executed at which leads to ellipses, circles, and other esoteric shapes.

    Integration is the accumulation of infinite points be it time or other factors.

    “you can teach young children Shakespeare but they havent had the emotional/life experience/vocabulary to understand much of it.”

    Which is why they should read it, don’t you think?

  222. Stephen Grossman,

    “Yes, liberals dont limit sacrifice. Conservatives limit sacrifice w/God, claiming that Heaven is the reward (or 78 virgins if youre Muslim).”

    What utter bullshit.

  223. gbk::

    Stephen Grossman,

    “Yes, liberals dont limit sacrifice. Conservatives limit sacrifice w/God, claiming that Heaven is the reward (or 78 virgins if youre Muslim).”

    What utter bullshit.”

    Why is it utter bullshit? Putting aside the fact that I think it is 72 virgins instead of 78. I guess the thought of all those virgins gave him a premature factualization.

  224. @Bron: How are you going to integrate a cone if you dont know what it is?

    First, gbk beat me to it. Second, I did say ninth graders, didn’t I? Third, you missed my point: If they do not understand a cone, I will explain a cone to them in English a ninth grader can understand. I didn’t choose ninth grade by accident, they are 15 year old kids with the basics behind them.

    For every intellectual idea an adult understands, there is an historical path of a motivating problem, first, followed by an essential idea or insight that provided the tool that solved that problem. If an adult understands both the motivating problem and the solution that was found, it is pretty easy to recast those for a ninth grader and recapitulate the path. The invented words are not magic they are shorthand, an integral is a way of computing a volume (called an area in 2D). When it is not done analytically, it is often called Cubature, after the idea of cutting a 3D volume up into imaginary cubes and counting only those “below” a surface (or inside or whatever) as an estimate of the volume. The tinier the cubes, the more accurate the estimate.

    In fact, the Archimedes problem, trying to compute the volume of the Crown, is a 3D integral problem. If you can explain that “Eureka” moment to a 15 year old, then you can explain integrals to them.

  225. Tony,
    I am reminded of a story about Thomas Edison. He asked one of his associates to tell him the exact volume of his light bulb. After some time elapsed, his associates came to him with pages of calculations and told Edison that such a calculation was beyond their mathematical capability. Without saying a word, Edison picked up a light bulb, plunged it into a graduated beaker half full of water and handed it to the associate.

  226. @Bron: The idea that liberals do not limit sacrifice is utter bullshit. The Aynish seem incapable of thinking in anything other than black and white, they cannot reason unless everything is either 0% or 100%. This “either or” thinking is how they arrive at the ludicrous notion that people are either 100% selfish or 100% selfless, there is nothing in-between for them, there is no sub-division of time or space or money in which one can be selfish for two days and selfless for three, or help others with some income and be self indulgent with the rest.

    It is why psychopaths are drawn to the psychopathic philosophy of Rand; because psychopaths are incapable of emotions that are not selfish in nature, and Rand lets them be proud of that disability.

  227. @Otteray: Yeah, basically the Eureka story. However, there is another lesson to be learned from that story, in regard to “knowledge.” The story goes that Archimedes noticed the water rise as he lowered himself into a bath. In that moment of inspiration, what happened in his head that let him suddenly be certain of the solution, and that it would work?

    In one moment he knew something new that nobody in the entire world knew except for him, and it was contained entirely in his head, so that was “knowledge” being created. But whatever happened in that moment, it happened in the brain, the pieces of his puzzle were joined together there.

    I mean literally joined together; what happened in that “insight” was the creation of a neural path that linked together different mental models of how the world worked to produce a way to measure a volume independent of weight, exploiting the incompressibility of water. Combined with the already known means of measuring a weight independent of volume (scales), that would permit the computation of density.

  228. Zombie
    1, December 11, 2012 at 8:49 am
    @Bron: The idea that liberals do not limit sacrifice is utter bullshit.

    The Aynish seem incapable of thinking in anything other than black and white,

    Lacking black and white, ie, absolute values, there is no way to limit sacrifice.
    The worship of grey is compromise with destruction. Liberals have been attacking absolute moral values for many decades ,ie, they will compromise, ie, destroy, all values. Nazism and liberalism come from the same nihilist root in Kant’s split between morality and values. And now liberalism is compromising their one-worldism with nationalism in saying that financial sacrifice to the nation of the rich is their patriotic duty. After spitting on a rational American patriotism, based on individual rights, liberals are wrapping the flag around govt economic intervention. Weimer Germany again. Nazism is nationalist socialism, based on the rejection of reason shared with liberals.
    Your scientific fraud of behaviorist materialism, with its evasion of self-consciousness as a method and object of the science of psychology, the self-consciousness that is the power of explicit reasoning, rests on the same irrationalism loudly advocated by Nazism.

    > This “either or” thinking is how they arrive at the ludicrous notion that people are either 100% selfish or 100% selfless

    Every value either furthers or threatens one’s life, a metaphysical fact about life. But man, w/free will, can and has chosen a vast variety of compromises between selfish life and selfless death. Eg, liberalism, for many decades acompromise between Marxism and capitalism.

  229. @Stephen: There are no metaphysical facts about life, Stephen, there is nothing beyond physics, there is nothing supernatural. You are wasting your time and your breath. And your life, I would wager.

    I strongly advocate for compromising between pure socialism and pure capitalism, since neither absolute can produce a functional, stable society.

    And values do not further or threaten my life in any way. Of course maybe I just don’t speak your crazy moon language, and you do not seem able to speak anything else.

  230. Zombie,
    Tony C.
    1, December 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm
    @Stephen: There are no metaphysical facts about life, Stephen, there is nothing beyond physics, there is nothing supernatural.

    Metaphysics is the study of nature as a whole, not any supernatural realm, as Ive repeatedly said and as youve repeatedly evaded. Matter and energy are unconditional as a whole. Life exists as conditional. Man must value his own life as his highest value or he suffers and dies. This exists along a continuum depending upon the individual’s choices. Thats the nature of life as a whole. Youre continued evasion of consciousness is noted. Perhaps your life is explained without reference to your ideas and values.

    >I strongly advocate for compromising between pure socialism and pure capitalism, since neither absolute can produce a functional, stable society.

    As Ive said, youre a fascist, an irrationalist, an anti-system advocate of govt economic controls w/o state ownership, the politics of 1940s fascists.

    >And values do not further or threaten my life in any way.

    Value drinking rat poison. Life requires that living organisms value their life more than all other values to maintain living. You value eating, a value objectively needed to remain alive. No fact of physics changes that.

    Its understandable why an advocate of sacrifice does not want to consider his life as a whole but merely consider disintegrated parts. Unfortunately for your evasions, consciousness is an integrate whose parts cant be separated from each other. Every state and process of consciousness affects every other state and process. This explains the religion of complexity-worship among contemporary intellectuals. They dont want to know their life as a whole, given their morality of sacrifice.

  231. Zombie,
    >psychopaths are drawn to the psychopathic philosophy of Rand;

    You imply that a rational psychology is a danger to a living organism whose basic method of survival is reason. And that the selfless hatred of one’s own survival is psy. healthy, ie furthers life. Thus youre left claiming that self-hatred is a survival mechanism. There is no corner of the universe where contradictions escape the rest of the universe. The universe is consistent w/itself, whatever your rationalizations. Your contradictions will not affect it.
    It is.

  232. There have been lots of threads that devolved into 3 party discussions and why they aren’t viable. Well, here’s a different take.

    excerpts:

    John Reed is New Green Mayor in Fairfax
    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    On December 5th, John Reed became Mayor of Fairfax, the fourth Green in a row to be Mayor there. Reed is also the fourth Green on the five member Fairfax Town Council, where Greens have made up a majority since November 2009.
    Appointed by unamimous vote by his Town Council colleagues, Reed succeeds fellow Greens Pam Hartwell-Herrero (2011-2012), Larry Bragman (2010-2011) and Lew Tremaine (2009-2010) as Fairfax’s Mayor, and joins Gayle Mclaughlin (Richmond) and Bruce Delgado (Marina) as one of three current Green mayors statewide.

    Since 1993, when Raven Earlygrow (Point Arena) became the state’s first Green Mayor, thirty-three California Greens have served in that role.
    ……
    It didn’t take Reed long to move on this agenda. At his first meeting as Mayor, he announced that $300K in funding had just been secured for some long needed bike lanes and pedestrian improvements in the center of downtown.

    Fairfax is one of four U.S. cities where Greens have had a city/town council majority, three of them in California – Fairfax, Sebastopol (2000-2008) and Arcata (1996-1998.)

  233. funny you should mention ‘green’.
    as i followed the posts i have been thinking of kermit the frog who made famous the lyrics ‘it’s not easy being green”.
    shameful to admit, i am still searching for the connection.

  234. @Stephen: Value drinking rat poison. Life requires that living organisms value their life more than all other values to maintain living. You value eating, a value objectively needed to remain alive.

    I see, more of your Aynish redefinitions, in which “valuing” something means you must immediately do that thing yourself. What a crock.

    Those of us that speak plain English CAN put some value in drinking a poison without immediately drinking any poison, because some of us that speak plain English do put value in the right of others to end their lives if they so desire, and some of us that speak plain English value the bravery and patriotism of a soldier that drank rat poison to kill himself rather than be tortured into revealing information that would be used to kill his fellow soldiers.

    We that speak plain English can put value in eating and therefore NOT eat, for example by skipping our meal so that a child can eat instead.

    And it is obviously not necessary to value one’s life above all others in order to continue living; many a fireman or cop or soldier or spy is alive precisely because they risked their life to save another life, and that favor was later returned to them by their brothers-in-arms saving their life.

    That becomes a general truth, because we are always stronger in groups whose members are all willing to risk life, limb and fortune to protect each other, and to pursue common goals as a group.

    How far do you think our founding fathers would have gotten if they had not been willing to risk (and suffer) death to separate from British rule?

    Your psychopathic philosophy of personal life preservation over all else prevents the collective action that leads to collective rewards, like the American Revolution or any other revolution or war that has led to a free country or preserved one.

    Without putting other lives ahead of their own, no soldier goes to war to stop psychopaths from overrunning their country. We would all be the subjects of Nazis, or dead at their hands. Or more precisely, we would all be subjects of kings and strongmen and dictators willing to kill us if we disobey, disarmed, enslaved, and herded like cattle.

    All in all the idea that “life” is the highest value is just a misguided, childishly fearful and short-sighted philosophy. Under that philosophy, it is better to be a shackled slave living on bread and water, working under constant threat of death to make a master rich, than to risk death for one’s freedom. It is better to endure the beatings, endure the rapes, and never fight back because the alternative risks death, and your philosophy values your life above all other values.

    Ayn’s pathetic logic never stands up to scrutiny. Some of us that speak plain English understand there ARE things more valuable than our own lives, and that has been true throughout history. It is the reason you were not born as the property of some king or emperor to do with as he pleased.

  235. Stephen Grossman:

    I was having a conversation with my wife and she was telling me about brainwashing and welfare dependency. She is a teacher and is helping a child with a term paper so she has been reading some of the papers found on the web about brainwashing and welfare.

    She said that brainwashing is hard to do with people who are not dependent on someone else. It is also hard to do with people who have self esteem. Dont Objectivists promote self reliance and self esteem? Arent self reliance and self esteem necessary elements for doing well in life?

    She also said something else I found interesting, namely why would anyone promote dependency in another person? She thought the promoting of dependency was necessary to brainwash people into a cycle of misery and despair so they would be beholden to the government for their existence.

    I dont know about you but it seems to me that anyone who would promote dependency, misery and despair would be evil.

    Based on this, I am really unclear as to why Tony C and others would consider Objectivists sociopaths/psycopaths for promoting self esteem and self reliance among other positive human traits.

  236. @Bron: As always, you purposely miss the point. Psychopaths are people without empathy willing to harm others for personal gain. That is what Objectivists promote, despite their protestations to the contrary; their philosophy “values” selfishness so highly they are willing to let others literally suffer and die. The philosophy itself is psychopathic, it puts zero value on the life or well-being or happiness of any other person. As you yourself have said, echoing Ayn Rand, even in a hypothetical situation where you could save a child’s life with a single word you would feel no obligation to do so; that is putting the value of an entire other life as being less important to you than the value of half a second of your own life; that is close enough to zero value to be effectively zero value on the lives of any other person.

    It is not the “promotion of self-reliance” to let somebody die because you cannot be bothered to help, it is not the “promotion of self esteem” to let some girl live life as a sex slave because you cannot be bothered to come forward as a witness to her abduction. Yet your philosophy of never being obligated to do anything you have not agreed to do leads to precisely those conclusions, that you can let people die or suffer in slavery because even the tiniest sliver of your time is more valuable than their entire life.

    That, Bron, is psychopathy.

  237. Tony C:

    I dont think you understand Objectivism enough to properly criticize it.

    All Objectivists believe in the principles of our founding and in the concept of limited government. Objectivists are not anarchists.

    I am pretty certain the majority of Objectivists would fight and die, if necessary, to oppose tyranny.

    Objectivists value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    But when you value life, human life, you are valuing liberty, reason, happiness, it is a package deal.

  238. @Bron: I think I understand it fine. You do not value life if you put zero value on self-sacrifice to preserve life. That is the package deal. What Objectivists value is their own life above all other life, look at Stephen’s rhetoric. That is the definition of selfishness, it is the definition of Rand’s philosophy, that is the definition of psychopathy: Me first, nobody second.

    Objectivists do not give a crap about life, liberty or happiness in general, they care only about their own life, their own liberty and their own happiness, and their entire philosophy is engineered to promote the lie that if they act just as selfishly as they please then everybody else’s life, liberty and happiness will be taken care of automatically, so they needn’t worry their little minds about that. It is a sociopathic, psychopathic philosophy that other people’s well being is none of their concern, as long as they are happy.

  239. Tony C:

    Although I was told by an Objectivist that if you are in peril and there is only room enough for one in the life boat all bets are off. I was taken aback because I would have tried to figure out how to have the lifeboat support 2 people.

    If you couldnt make the life boat support 2 then what do you do? Draw straws? Kill the other person or kick him out? Survival of the fittest? Women and children first?

    What is best for the individual? Jefferson said “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And that is best for society. Because society is made up of individuals.

    Remember the founders rebelled because of a small tax and because they wanted representation.

    Rand and Locke have much in common, were our founders sociopaths/psychopaths?

  240. Bron….

    people risk their lives EVERYDAY to save other people…..

    Are you saying that if you saw a child in the middle of the street who was about to get hit by a car, you would not risk your life to save that child?????

  241. Remember the founders rebelled because of a small tax and because they wanted representation.
    ————

    NO…. they rebelled because they were paying taxes to England… and it was not to their benefit in America…..

    Taxation without representation does NOT mean TAXES are unjust….
    it means that people do not want to pay taxes and not get any benefit from them….. which is perfectly reasonable…..

  242. She said that brainwashing is hard to do with people who are not dependent on someone else. It is also hard to do with people who have self esteem. Dont Objectivists promote self reliance and self esteem? Arent self reliance and self esteem necessary elements for doing well in life?

    ————————————-

    then how do you explain all of the Religious people in the USA????
    Tom Cruise is pretty darn wealthy yet, he is quite brainwashed by Scientology……

    Do you know that MOST of the people on welfare, WORK for a living???
    They are just paid terribly poor wages……

  243. Tony C… YOU are absolutely CORRECT on ALL accounts here….

    and this hit the nail RIGHT on the head….

    It is not the “promotion of self-reliance” to let somebody die because you cannot be bothered to help, it is not the “promotion of self esteem” to let some girl live life as a sex slave because you cannot be bothered to come forward as a witness to her abduction. Yet your philosophy of never being obligated to do anything you have not agreed to do leads to precisely those conclusions, that you can let people die or suffer in slavery because even the tiniest sliver of your time is more valuable than their entire life.

    That, Bron, is psychopathy.

  244. @Bron: Why wouldnt anyone value their life above every other persons? [Most] of us want to live.

    Most of us want to live, only sociopaths and psychopaths want to live no matter what it takes, no matter who it hurts, no matter what the ramifications are to others.

    My life is finite, my enjoyment of life is finite. As a worker, I put an explicit dollar value on my life. Because my life is finite, the value of my life is finite, and therefore it is possible for me to consider other things more valuable than my own life. As I do. As my life is used up, the value left to be extracted diminishes, and it becomes easier for me to imagine exceeding that value.

    So no, I do not think that my life is more valuable than all other lives, and there exist individuals that I would trade my life to save.

    I think putting an infinite value on your own life is irrational. I am an atheist, but even for those religionists that believe in an afterlife, life on Earth in a corporeal body is a finite experience with a finite value. Even if we cannot put our finger on that value precisely, most humans at some time in our lives believe that value is exceeded by something of greater emotional value, such as a principle or relationship, even if that particular trade is never executed.

    My own life may be in my top ten list, but it isn’t number one and I would literally rather die than sacrifice some of the people, emotions and principles I find more important. Their preservation would be more valuable to me than some finite number of additional years for myself. I am honestly just not all that afraid of death or non-existence.

  245. Zombie,
    >I am honestly just not all that afraid of death or non-existence.

    Because not holding your own life as your highest value is the valuing of your own death, with the necessary psychological pain.

  246. @Stephen: On the contrary, it is the relief of psychological pain, because I have already decided on the correct courses of action in situations where a choice might be between what I love and my life. You just cannot understand it because you do not feel love for anyone but yourself, you have no principles, friends, mates or children more important to you than your own life, you are an absolute, 100% coward. So of course, rather than face your cowardice and see yourself for the fearful wretch you are, you will deride those with the courage and intelligence to be at peace with a finite existence.

    What a thoroughly pointless and empty life you must lead, Stephen.

  247. Zombie
    >>not holding your own life as your highest value is the valuing of your own death, with the necessary psychological pain.

    >On the contrary, it is the relief of psychological pain,

    The first concern of selfish people is living life. The first concern of selfless people is avoiding pain. Pseudo-scientific, materialist behaviorism is a rationalization for evading the self and self-judgment. But since the self exists and has needs, religion fills the intellectual vacuum (at the price of thinking that the self is an emenation of the supernatural with no natural function).

    >I have already decided on the correct courses of action in situations where a choice might be between what I love and my life.

    The first concern of selfless people is avoiding pain.

    Note the split between “what I love and my life.”

    > at peace with a finite existence.

    But since the self exists and has needs, religion fills the intellectual vacuum (at the price of thinking that the self is an emenation of the supernatural with no natural function).

    You fail, once again, to successfully rationalize your evasion of the hierarchy of reasoning. Sacrifice is, in fact, and therefore in reasoning, based upon the desire for death, regardless of rationalizations. This cannot be escaped regardless of how many nuances are placed between sacrifice and the desire for death. This is the logic of your ideas, ie, a common human experience, not a personal attack. If you think it a personal attack, that is a personal matter for your self-consciousness, the self-consciousness whose judgment you have indirectly and, against your intentions, caused, and which you evade in your zombie theories. For evidence, consider Munch’s ,”The Scream,” and your response. Or the increasing liberal concern with compassion and the lack of meaning. If you want to sacrifice yourself, that is your personal concern, of no interest to me. But when you publically rationalize it as requiring a govt which violates my rights, that is my concern. And, with Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, I have a rational alternative to persuade others to respect individual rights.

    In your continuing personal attacks, you merely confess the lack of ideas and presume that the the desire for sacrifice is a common human experience, causing guilt if rejected. But it isnt and it doesnt. I do note, however, that psychosis, the lack of volitional control over mind, is part of your “science.”
    It must be a source of some, transitory, relief to think that the Devil made you do it.

  248. @Stephen: The first concern of selfless people is avoiding pain.

    No, it isn’t.

    @Stephen: Note the split between “what I love and my life.”

    Yes, you should note that, because they are not identical. Valuing something more than my life does not mean I place no value on my life at all. You are a victim of absolutist thinking and absolutist reasoning, there is plenty of room to value my life more than most things, without valuing my life more than anything.

    You continue to live your life in self-centered cowardice, valuing your own life more than anything else leads directly to your enslavement and subjugation, as well as a wasted life of endless fear in anticipating your inevitable death. Which is probably well-deserved, so carry on.

  249. Tricksy 1, December 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    funny you should mention ‘green’.
    as i followed the posts i have been thinking of kermit the frog who made famous the lyrics ‘it’s not easy being green”.
    shameful to admit, i am still searching for the connection.
    ——————-

    Tricksy, If you spent any time trying to get a Green Party member on a ballot, in the media, in a debate, or elected, you know exactly why “it’s not easy being green”. I think Kermit is a closet GP member.

  250. Zombie

    @Stephen: The first concern of selfless people is avoiding pain.

    No, it isn’t.

    But that the historical rationalization by advocates, to stop or decrease others’ pain.

    @Stephen: Note the split between “what I love and my life.”

    > You are a victim of absolutist thinking and absolutist reasoning,

    Apart from your curious thinking-reasoning split, the evasion of the absolute reality of reality certainly provides an intellectual wormhole for all sorts of non-absolutes, almost, but not quite, as if the universe was affected by your thinking. Hey, isnt that the schizo experience?!

    >there is plenty of room to value my life more than most things, without valuing my life more than anything.

    Rand says that most people are not so suicidal as to be consistent w/sacrifice. Is there an objective and rational standard for what we should value more than our own life? If no such standard, how can man avoid murderous conflict in society as different groups and individuals claim different standards? Eg, a war between liberals who want the state for enforce sacrifice to society and conservatives who want the state to enforce sacrifice to God.

    >valuing your own life more than anything else leads directly to your enslavement and subjugation

    Youve been reading The Bible, you lapsed mystic, you. I look forward to your joining the increasing ranks of religious scientists, depressed and anxious over the implications of materialism, an historically important, historical sequence. Even the Greeks returned to mysticism after their democratic war against Syracuse brought Spartan domination. Aristotle wrote after the peak of Greek cultural rationality. It seems that Greece had some trouble with clever relativists (non-absolutists). Some things never change, not that Im a conservative, mind you.

  251. @Stephen: But that the historical rationalization by advocates, to stop or decrease others’ pain.

    No it isn’t.

    @Stephen: Is there an objective and rational standard for what we should value more than our own life?

    No, nor is one necessary, nor can one be developed. What is important to people is virtually always emotionally important; people are emotionally driven. Reason exists to serve the emotional person and help them achieve their emotional goals; whether that is security, safety, prosperity, intellectual achievement, charity or whatever else. People are driven by emotion informed by reason.

    And that is backed up by science. The real science, not your fake science with your pre-determined conclusions to be reached, the real thing, derived from studies of people with brain injuries (or tumors) that impair or eliminate their ability to feel emotions.

  252. to both Stephen and Tony C:

    if a brain is injured how can we compare it to a normal brain? The little I know about the brain seems to suggest the entire organ is physically integrated with every other part, front to back; top to bottom; left to right.

    An injury to one area of the brain has the potential to effect other areas, or so it seems to me based on my limited knowledge.

    So Tony C, I am not sure you can make any sort of valid comparison?

  253. @Stephen: The first concern of selfless people is to enjoy success. That is not necessarily done by relieving pain; look at a grade school teacher. There is an element of selflessness in that profession, they are underpaid and overworked and usually under-appreciated. All of those are emotionally painful for the teacher, for some the pain is so great they drop out of teaching.

    So they certainly are not stopping or decreasing their own pain; a characteristic of selflessness is enduring emotional pain because they feel something else is more important than the pain.

    Second, a good grade school teacher knows they are doing no favors to their charges by handing out undeserved A’s and B’s when the child deserves an F. Doing that may please the child and the child’s parents (thus avoiding pain for others), but it sets the child up for future failure. So the good grade school teacher will grade fairly, without flinching at the pain it may cause for a child’s ego, or a parent’s ego, because what the good grade school teacher wants is for the child to succeed. But for 99.9% of us, success comes with work and the emotional pains of doing what we dislike, being wrong, losing competitions and various other failures. Those failures are the teaching moments, and the good grade school teachers know they run a life training camp.

    In education emotional pain is manageable, but unavoidable. Not all challenges are met, not every child is the smartest child in the class, and children are immature and can be cruel, abusive, and blind to the emotional pain they cause their teachers. (The same goes for the parents of the children!)

    So why do the teachers endure it? It isn’t for the money; a teacher not only graduates college but has to take and pass extra courses and tests to teach children. If it was about the money, they could earn more in a 40 hour week (instead of the 60+ it takes to be a good grade school teacher) as an accountant, nurse, programmer, or mid-level manager, any number of other 9-5 type jobs.

    Teacher endure it because they believe they are contributing to the future success of the children they teach. The job isn’t about relieving their own pain or preventing pain, in fact the job requires the occasional infliction of some necessary emotional pain when informing children they have failed.

    The job is about making the world a better place, in their eyes. It is the feeling of contributing to success that motivates them, and makes their own pain and the pain they had to inflict worth it. To them, it is worth the lower pay and longer hours, worth the frustration, insults and ingratitude, because they feel they have made a positive difference in the world.

  254. @Bron: The little I know about the brain seems to suggest the entire organ is physically integrated with every other part, front to back; top to bottom; left to right.

    Then you know something that isn’t true. The brain is modular. There is evidence for that in the work of evolutionary psychologists like Pinker, Bloom, and Baumeister; there is also TONS of evidence for that in stroke studies and brain tumor studies where random parts of people’s brains have been killed. To a lesser extent we can study injuries that kill parts of the brain, like a nail gun injury, gun injury, falls, darts, arrows, etc that penetrate the brain. More recently, transcranial magnetic interference can temporarily disable very localized regions in a healthy brain, and that also shows the modularity.

    By “modularity” I mean that the brain is not a homogenized Jello, it has distinct modules responsible for different functions. This is actually more evident in males than females; even on an fMRI of healthy brains, and explains the difference in stroke outcomes by gender. Males that have strokes tend to lose whole distinct functions without recovery, while other functions remain intact. Females tend to lose many functions but recover most of them; because their mental functionality is more distributed throughout the brain than it is in males, and a small dead area can be rebuilt and re-enabled, while for the male it becomes a build-from-scratch proposition for a lost function.

    (Interestingly, this physical organization of the brain is partially reversed in self-identified lifelong homosexuals; which suggests the gender of the brain and gender of the body really are mismatched. Homosexual males experience strokes more like heterosexual females; homosexual females experience strokes more like heterosexual males.)

    So that is how we know the brain is modular. The amygdala is involved in processing emotions (particularly fear), but people that have lost their amygdala due to stroke feel no fear. None of the cues of anxiety or fear or emotional distress show up in them. They can be perfectly rational, solve problems, do calculus if they knew it before their stroke. But they have difficulty picking out a shirt and tie, because all they have is rationality, and their missing amygdala never makes a decision. So they will stand in the closet for hours, until they get physically tired or have to go to the restroom, spinning reasons for choosing one shirt over another. They suffer “analysis paralysis,” they cannot decide because the rational mind serves the emotional mind, and the missing amygdala isn’t weighing in.

    They don’t get bored, that is an emotion. They don’t get frustrated, they don’t get angry, or embarrassed at their inability, they don’t worry about missing an appointment or wasting time because there is nothing else they WANT to do, wanting to do something else is an emotion. (unless it is prompted by physical conditions like hunger, thirst, tired muscles, heat or cold discomfort, the need to eliminate waste, etc). The only reason they are in the closet is because they were asked to do that by the researcher and complied, because they have no urge to fight it.

    When we see the amygdala lighting up in normal brains during these decisions; and the decisions cannot be made when the amygdala has died, we can guess with pretty high confidence the amygdala is essential to such decisions. The rest of the evidence is in the fact that strokes affecting virtually every other part of the brain do NOT have this same effect.

    The brain is more like a network of millions of modules than it is a single module. It is also resilient; brain injuries are survivable. Even after severe strokes that create much disability, people that know the victim can still recognize their personality, the victims can still have memories of their life and often still mentally execute their former profession. An orthopedic surgeon may be physically paralyzed, but still remember everything correctly about being an orthopedic surgeon and solving the professional problems encountered. Which may make them a medical school professor or consultant or textbook author instead of a practicing surgeon.

    So yes, I believe the comparisons are valid. The brain is not a fragile system where nothing can fail. It is more like the Internet, where Google can go down but eBay and Amazon might not even notice.

    There is evolutionary advantage in the modularity, it creates robustness (the opposite of fragility in systems). Evolutionarily speaking, modularity and a “small world” network makes many injuries survivable; whereas the model of “everything affects everything” means every injury is catastrophic.

  255. tony c:

    i agree that there are different distinct structures within the brain, I am just saying the brain is an integrated organ.

  256. @Bron: I don’t know what you mean by an “integrated organ.” Yes, distinct structures do communicate with each other. But the effect that you claim as part of being an “integrated organ,” whatever you mean by that, is not evident in experimentation with people that have lost parts of their brain due to stroke, disease or injury.

    So sure, there is a part of your brain that facilitates the transfer and translation of short term (electrochemical) memory to long term (physically represented) memory. If that is damaged, then it can have widespread effects on other modules that depend on it.

    But in general, the “robustness” I am talking about is specifically antithetical to your premise, the point of robustness is that a person can lose some abilities without affecting their other capabilities. For example, a literary publishing editor may lose the ability to recognize people’s faces but retain 100% of their ability to read and follow a fictional adventure, like the entire Harry Potter series of novels. They can summarize it, answer questions about it, invent alternative outcomes, discern plot holes, all with no discernible difference in their capability.

    Think of it like sensory functions, which are also ultimately in the brain. If brain damage causes you to become deaf, that doesn’t affect your ability to find the derivative of an equation. If a stroke makes you lose feeling in your left hand, that does not imply you will be incapable of recognizing faces.

    The brain is modular and to a great extent modules are independent. It is integrated in the sense that modules do communicate with each other, and some modules depend upon inputs from other modules to get their job done, but there is NOT a path of dependence from every module to every other module. That would be fragile. Nature has evolved some fragile systems, certainly, but the brain does not happen to be one of them; evolutionary pressures have selected for a more robust, often fail-safe organization with fewer inter-dependencies.

    This robustness is what allowed Gabrielle Giffords to be shot in the head, through-and-through from front to back with skull fragments embedded in her brain, and still survive to walk, talk, see, and reason. That would not have happened without modern medical technology; but modern medical technology did not replace the many destroyed parts of her brain. Yet she is still capable of recovering and learning; for example she is learning to write with her left hand instead of her right.

  257. Zombie
    >Tony C.
    1, December 13, 2012 at 8:54 am
    @Stephen: The first concern of selfless people is to enjoy success.

    See above. I wrote: The first concern of selfless people is avoiding pain….The first concern of selfish people is enjoying life.

  258. Zombie.
    1, December 13, 2012 at 9:54 am
    @Bron: The little I know about the brain seems to suggest the entire organ is physically integrated with every other part, front to back; top to bottom; left to right.

    Then you know something that isn’t true. The brain is modular. There is evidence for that in the work of evolutionary

    This anti-scientific materialism is rationalization for conceptual disintegration. Consciousness is an integrate because the brain is. Instead of studying healthy brains, these quacks study sick brains and generalize from sickness.

  259. @Stephen: I saw what you wrote. It is false. Wrong. Stupid. So is your subsequent comment. False. Wrong. Stupid. Anti-Scientific.

  260. Zombie.
    1, December 13, 2012 at 9:54 am
    @Bron: The little I know about the brain seems to suggest the entire organ is physically integrated with every other part, front to back; top to bottom; left to right.

    >Then you know something that isn’t true. The brain is modular. There is evidence for that in the work of evolutionary

    This anti-scientific materialism is rationalization for conceptual disintegration. Consciousness is an integrate because the brain is. Instead of studying healthy brains, these quacks study sick brains and generalize from sickness. Its the cause of their equivalent perversion of morality from a guide to life to a rationalization for the sacrifice of life.

  261. Zombie
    1, December 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm
    @Stephen: I saw what you wrote. It is false. Wrong. Stupid. So is your subsequent comment. False. Wrong. Stupid. Anti-Scientific.

    Youre regressing to a child’s conceptualizing power. “Ma, Tommy hit me. No, Billy stinks. No, youre pants are on fire. I hate you. Eat poo. Shut up, fathead!”

  262. @Stephen: You long ago regressed to insult. I am not regressing, I am stating the facts as I see them, but I am not going to try and justify them, because it is a waste of my time: You will just deny them without proof, without science, without logic, just your own loopy moon language quotes from your fellow psychopath Ayn Rand.

    Science is on my side; you have subscribed to an intentional fiction that a psychopath realized after the fact could be turned into a con game.

    You are wrong. The philosophy is stupid and anti-scientific because it is based on false assumptions and counter-factual arguments. I really don’t care if you believe that or not, the evidence is the evidence, your belief doesn’t change the reality of it. In fact I think it is hilariously ironic how much reality Objectivists deny because it doesn’t fit Rand’s ludicrous philosophy.

  263. Zombie,
    @Stephen: You long ago regressed to insult.

    You regard logical criticism as personal insult, a necessary implicaton of your reduction of logic to psychology. But I criticize your conceptual choices, not your psychology. If I criticized your psychology, I would need to take a long shower.

    >I am not regressing, I am stating the facts as I see them,

    Obviously, you are conceptually regressing and, within that context of the conceptual power of children, you, indeed, and with a perverse honesty, are stating the facts as you see them.

    >Science is on my side

    The intellectually corrupt whores in the universities are on your side, the nihilists who reduce conceptual science to arbitrary and conventional associations among patterns. Of course you want to sacrifice the sub-human self you chose to create. I’d flush it down a toilet if it got close to me. Excuse me, I must wash my hands.

  264. Zombie,
    1, December 13, 2012 at 9:54 am
    >The brain is modular. There is evidence for that in the work of evolutionary psychologists like Pinker, Bloom, and Baumeister;

    Garbage in, garbage out. Modern mainstream scientists philosophically reject man’s conceptual/volitional consciousness before they consider science ,thus will not look for its physical basis. And evading self-consciousness as a scientific method, they have no way to experience the integration of consciousness. They are like computers responding to man. Evolutionary psychology is limited by man’s conceptual/volitional consciousness. Something happened after evolution stopped in man’s brain and you dont know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?!

  265. @Stephen: Like all religionists, you claim to embrace science while rejecting any science that disagrees with the answers you want to hear, the received knowledge of your dead heroes of a bygone age that invented a mythological “science” of explaining the world by making stuff up. You are no different than the aboriginal cave men worshiping the sun god, except you are even less predictive than they. Continue wasting your life, Stephen.

  266. Zombie,
    I value observation-based and conceptually organized science, as Newton used to discover universal gravity. You value science based on arbitrary and conventional dictionary definitions and non-conceptual pattern recognition, as positivists used to deny atomic theory. Note that Im not claiming that your view is false because that, too, is contextual. I am, however, identifying the limit of your value.

  267. @Fool: I do not give a crap about “conceptual pattern recognition,” that doesn’t mean anything. What I care about is observation, it makes no difference to me if my observations do not fit your preconceived notions of what I should observe, just like I don’t care whether my observations match what Aristotle expected (he thought rational thought occurred in the heart).

    As for “conventional dictionary definitions:” Damn straight. Claims have no meaning or basis in reality if you can just redefine words to mean anything you want. Thinking otherwise is idiotic.

    I AM claiming your view is false. That is not contextual, fool, that is saying your view does not comport with observed reality, it does not predict what we will observe in experiments or in the field or under the microscope, it does not provide any predictive power whatsoever. False.

  268. tony c:

    how do you categorize plants and animals into genus and species if you do not recognize patterns?

    We all know what catness is and can recognize it in an animal. Same for canines.

    how come we can see just the tuft on a lions tail above the tall grass and say to our selves danger? We could not if we did not integrate concepts.

  269. @Bron: That is not “integrating concepts,” that is just “pattern recognition,” and it is probabilistic pattern recognition at that. Neurons learn to match patterns, but they are “noisy,” not perfect. They sometimes fire when they shouldn’t, and sometimes fail to fire when they should. The tuft of the lion’s tail does not necessarily mean a lion is there. For a better example, we are extremely prone to mistaking various harmless things as snakes; including sticks, roots, even feces.

    This is not “integrating concepts,” it isn’t even usually a conscious act, but when it is it is called “learning.”

    Sensory inputs (of all kinds, including just patterns of movement independent of any particular object) eventually trigger specific neural clusters that fire in recognition of the pattern. neural patterns that fire together usually get their own neural cluster to represent that meta-pattern (a pattern of patterns occurring together). That occurs recursively; it is how some people can recognize on sight that a painting they have never seen before is in the style of Matisse.

    These associations occur in the brain without any conscious effort; it is how infants learn language without using logic, and how they learn to associate heights and falling with pain, or in fact learn to anticipate many things they like and dislike before they have any language or explicit reasoning capability.

    I am opposed to using made up language to describe common concepts that already have words. On the one hand, it is egotistical or a fraudulent attempt at sounding “important” and “scientific.” On the other hand, it is a common way to claim some process is more mystical or mysterious than it actually is; which would be too apparent if the plain English word were used.

    There is no “integrating of concepts.” There is pattern recognition and there is learning. Neurons automatically, without any consciousness, in Petri dishes, will learn by repetition to fire when certain inputs are present, or the reverse (fire when inputs are expected and NOT present: For example, when you reach without looking to grab a cup and do not feel it).

    This is not some conscious thing; the brain is an anticipation machine, it is constantly working, in a billion parallel paths, to know what to expect next and firing up when that doesn’t happen to try and reconcile what did happen with what was expected. The fundamental “emotion” at the neuron level is surprise, or “Wait, WTF?” (If that happens enough, the neuron learns it isn’t unusual, it is part of the pattern).

    The point, in mice and in men, is to anticipate what happens next. Categorization is a very small part of what is going on; consciousness is a very small part of what is going on. In one square inch of skin you have over 700 different sensors for pain, pressure, temperature, and more. Your brain has tens of thousands of neurons actively monitoring every one of those square inches constantly, to see if they act as expected.

    In your visual system you may think nothing is happening as the background does not change, but actually neurons are actively expecting that persistence of vision and if something changes they fire to bring attention to the change.

    The same thing for all your senses, a sudden noise, smell, taste, touch or itch all raise alarms because they are unexpected by some unconscious little network of neurons that raises an alert to higher pattern recognition areas, which may or may not reach consciousness, depending on how busy the conscious mind is dealing with other issues.

    The brain, and how it works, is explained just fine by common words using their common meanings. Pattern recognition. Learning. Attention. Anticipation. Discrepancy, partial matches, and so on.

    Rand’s explanations are pretentious BS invented out of thin air and designed to bamboozle. Nobody “integrates concepts.” They learn things.

  270. Tony C.

    “Nobody ‘integrates concepts.’ They learn things.”

    So true, learning is vastly underrated as are accepted meanings of words so as to encourage accurate communications.

  271. Zombie
    1, December 14, 2012 at 11:09 am
    @Fool: I do not give a crap about “conceptual pattern recognition,” that doesn’t mean anything.

    It doesnt mean anything to brute animals, children, primitives and evaders. After the perceptual (observational) recognition of a pattern, the pattern is conceptualized by selectively focusing on (abstracting) its similarities to other patterns in a context of differences from other patterns. We buy a bag of apples without worrying about differences among the apples. Apples have certain similarties to each other that differentiate them from pears, plums, etc. That consciousness of similarity and difference is the concept, apple. Brute animals can be aware of similarities or differences but not integrated in the same consciousness.

    >it makes no difference to me if my observations do not fit your preconceived notions of what I should observe,

    Im not discussing what one should observe. After observation, man, unlike brute animals, has the ability to process the observations by abstracting similarities against a background of differences, as we do when we distinguish rocks from flowers. Brute animals randomly associate perceptions. Only man identifies and integrates perceptions. Man, via concepts, can focus his mind on, eg, the basic similarity between a small and a large table by means of which he distinguishes both from chairs, beds,& couches. He abstracts the similarity, temporarily the differences among different sizes and kinds of tables and integrates the abstractions into a concept ,table, that refers to all things which have those similarities and differences. Man does this subconsciously for things close to the perceptual level but must conceptualize the process of conceptualizing for more abstract concepts as he abstracts from abstractions for wider or more precise concepts. Eg, Einstein used math to build a chain of abstractions from Babylonian observations of stars to E=MC/2. Its more complex than this (see Rand’s Epistemology) but Ive indicated the process.

    There are no preconceptions except in religion or in rationalizations of religion such as behaviorism. Concepts are logically organized perceptions regardless of the length of the hierarchical chain.

    >As for “conventional dictionary definitions:” Damn straight. Claims have no meaning or basis in reality if you can just redefine words to mean anything you want.

    Youve many times evaded a defense of conventional meaning, ie, you have none. The alternative to convention is not the arbitrary but observation-based and conceptually organized definitions. You remain a scientific fraud.

    >I AM claiming your view is false. That is not contextual, fool, that is saying your view does not comport with observed reality,

    Ie, your claim exists in the context of observed reality. My claim exists in the context of conceptually observed reality. Brute animals merely observe and thats it. Man always, this side of deep psychosis anyway, has some concepts that identify and integrate his perceptions.

  272. No, SG, I am a trained animal psychologist.

    Brute animals do more than observe. You are totally wrong on that point. Completely & absolutely wrong. Chimps and dolphins make and use tools. Animals have reasoning.
    Scientists finally came out recently to confirm they have consciousness.

  273. SG,

    Could you please define the following phrases:

    “. . . conceptually organized science . . .”

    “. . . non-conceptual pattern recognition . . .”

    “. . . reduce conceptual science to arbitrary and conventional associations among patterns . . .”

    “. . . the pattern is conceptualized by selectively focusing on (abstracting) its similarities to other patterns in a context of differences from other patterns . . .”

    In the last quoted phrase it would be nice if you also explain how, “selectively focusing,” equates to, “abstracting.”

    Good luck.

  274. @Stephen: the pattern is conceptualized by selectively focusing on (abstracting) its similarities to other patterns in a context of differences from other patterns.

    Bull. That doesn’t happen. Ever.

    It doesn’t even make sense as written! How does one “focus” on “similarities”? That requires pattern recognition itself. Your whole definition is recursive, it depends upon itself, and therefore means nothing.

    We do not recognize patterns and then look for “similarities” which are, of course, themselves “patterns.” There is no such thing as “conceptualization” as you define it, that does not happen in the human mind. Perhaps you think it does, but it doesn’t.

    What really happens is very much like what happens in nature; small patterns are recognized and bigger patterns are built up from that. In the visual cortex, we have neurons specialized to do nothing but fire if a vertical line appears in a few pixels of the retina (a pixel being the output of a rod or cone); others recognize horizontal lines, curvature, and diagonals. Just like the Windows graphical interface is composed of a handful of tools (buttons, slide bars, checkboxes, tabs, etc) which serve to make an infinite variety of programs, our vision is composed of a few dozen tiny patterns we naturally detect, put together in infinite combinations.

    Small patterns contribute to larger patterns. You have it backwards, we do not recognize big patterns and then compare them, we recognize small patterns. If we know dogs but have never seen a cat, we at first think a cat is some variant of a dog. We don’t think the cat is something NEW and try to find similarities, we think it is something OLD (a dog) with variances, and then the weight of the variances makes us bifurcate our model. But that is done hierarchically, we take what is common among dogs and cats (and squirrels, raccoons and other beasts) and that becomes a generic model of “animal”, and the specifics have differences from that model.

    But that model is not a model of absolute commonality, it is a model of probabilistic commonality. The model animal has “fur,” but for some animals (the naked mole rat) the exception is they do not have fur. Our generic model of a “person” is that they have hands and feet, because probabilistically that is highly likely, but that doesn’t prevent us from recognizing somebody as a person if they are born without hands or feet.

    The brain reduces information to probabilistic models. Consciously one can compare two models to make clear distinctions, but that is not what is happening in the brain.

    The brain builds up larger patterns from collections of smaller patterns that seem to occur together. There is no need to make any kind of explicit comparison; when we see something new then it will be composed of smaller features. Whatever model we have in our mind that explains the most important of the smaller features will come to mind; because in the competition within the mind for resources the neurons for that model are getting the most inputs. Then there is an assessment of the unexplained features; and they do the same thing, recursively.

    So my wife, driving to my daughter’s house, says she saw some crazy “dog” on the edge of the woods, but it had really big ears like a “rabbit”. The predominant trigger is “dog like”, but in her mind the ears don’t belong, and makes her doubt she is seeing a dog.

    The mind doesn’t find a pattern and then look for sub-patterns, it finds sub-patterns, and when they occur together more often than not, it forms collections of those, and when those collections occur together more often than not, it forms collections of those. Those will fire even if all the sub-components are not present. You will recognize a dog with three legs as a dog, you will recognize a dog without fur as a dog, you will recognize a flat-faced pug without a snout as a dog, and a dog without a tail as a dog. Under certain circumstances you may mistakenly recognize a cat or a raccoon or a baby deer as a dog.

    Your description is backward reasoning. We do not look for similarities, similarities come first, and then we look for differences. This is even reflected in our language: We say X is like Y except (here are the differences). We take note of the exceptions to something we already know, and that language reflects the way our minds actually work.

  275. Stephen Grossman,

    I’ve re-read all your posts in this thread, and after some thought have come to realize that you possess insight into the concept of conceptualization. I wasn’t easily convinced with your argument — until I spent a minute searching for confirmation of your perspective on the web — and found this press release from Deepaynpak University:

    ———————————————————————-

    Conceptual Researchers Claim Concepts Do Not Require Conception

    Press Release
    Deepaynpak University
    February 31, 2001

    In what might be a breakthrough in conceptual reasoning, researchers at Deepaynpak University claim to have proven that conceptualization does not require the concept of conceptualizing.

    “Conceiving is easy,” stated Dr. Lidute, “many people feel that conceptualizing the concepts that allow us to conceive our cognizance is onerous, but our research shows that this concept is conceptually flawed.”

    According to Dr. Lidute and technician Marsha Bradayski, their research has integrated heretofore separate conceptual concepts into a more conceptualized form of conceptualization which will allow concepts to be conceived with greater conceptional accuracy.

    “It’s like Newton conceiving gravity, or Einstein conceiving that dice do work,” stated Marsha
    Bradayski, “our conceptual research shows that if one can conceive something the conception must be true, otherwise how was the concept conceived?”

    ——————————————————————-

    The full press release can be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/crpgynr

  276. shano:

    “Scientists finally came out recently to confirm they have consciousness.”

    of course they do, I am not a scientist and I know that. They are alive and interact with their world and respond to stimulus. Aristotle recognized that 2500 years ago.

    “Holding as we do that, while knowledge of any kind is a thing to be honoured and prized, one kind of it may, either by reason of its greater exactness or of a higher dignity and greater wonderfulness in its objects, be more honourable and precious than another, on both accounts we should naturally be led to place in the front rank the study of the soul. The knowledge of the soul admittedly contributes greatly to the advance of truth in general, and, above all, to our understanding of Nature, for the soul is in some sense the principle of animal life. Our aim is to grasp and understand, first its essential nature, and secondly its properties; of these some are taught to be affections proper to the soul itself, while others are considered to attach to the animal owing to the presence within it of soul.

    To attain any assured knowledge about the soul is one of the most difficult things in the world. As the form of question which here presents itself, viz. the question ‘What is it?’, recurs in other fields, it might be supposed that there was some single method of inquiry applicable to all objects whose essential nature (as we are endeavouring to ascertain there is for derived properties the single method of demonstration); in that case what we should have to seek for would be this unique method. But if there is no such single and general method for solving the question of essence, our task becomes still more difficult; in the case of each different subject we shall have to determine the appropriate process of investigation. If to this there be a clear answer, e.g. that the process is demonstration or division, or some known method, difficulties and hesitations still beset us-with what facts shall we begin the inquiry? For the facts which form the starting-points in different subjects must be different, as e.g. in the case of numbers and surfaces.”

    you are 2500 years too late to that party and so are your scientists.

  277. tony c:

    my son, when he was around 8, told me he saw an orange possum out of his bedroom window. I told him orange possums do not exist in America, he was adamant that he saw the possum and was not dreaming.

    I saw the orange “possum” about a week later sunning itself in the back yard, it was a fox with mange on its tail which had stripped the hair off.

    My son had knowledge of a possum and knowledge of a fox but had not yet learned to differentiate between a fox and a possum.

    I never again dismissed what my children said even if it sounded whacky, there was an explanation but you had to figure out what they were saying from their level of cognitive development.

  278. @Bron: For those of us scientists that do not believe in souls or other made up stuff like “essences,” for those of us that do not just accept raw assertions or received knowledge or claims of divine inspiration, some questions are a little harder to prove based upon repeatable experiments.

    And at least for me as a scientist, it is not possible to be more than a handful of decades late to any party or conclusion.

  279. tony c:

    Aristotle did not think the soul was immortal. he thought it was what animated the body. in other words the workings of the brain although he wasnt sure what it was, he just figured any living body was animated by it.

  280. Shano
    1, December 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm
    >Chimps and dolphins make and use tools. Animals have reasoning.
    Scientists finally came out recently to confirm they have consciousness.

    Your hidden definition of reason is perceptual association, a form of consciousness that can make primitive tools. Aristotle, 2400 yrs ago, knew
    that brute animals have perceptual consciousness (or, as he called it, sensitive soul).

  281. @Stephen, Bron: Aristotle did not know anything, Aristotle was a mystic and reasoning from mystical principles, just as Rand was reasoning from false premises. When one starts from wildly false premises as they did, then even if the reasoning is flawless (and Aristotle’s was not, and Rand’s certainly was not) then no conclusions are known to be right or wrong. The less predictive the original premises, the more probable it is the conclusions are wrong.

  282. tony c:

    Aristotle knew a few things. he did pretty well with just observation. I dont know if you realize it, but he is responsible for the enlightenment.

  283. Zombie,
    1, December 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm
    @Stephen: the pattern is conceptualized by selectively focusing on (abstracting) its similarities to other patterns in a context of differences from other patterns.

    >How does one “focus” on “similarities”? That requires pattern recognition itself. Your whole definition is recursive, it depends upon itself, and therefore means nothing.

    Percepually, one merely associates patterns. Conceptually, one selectively focuses upon a part of a pattern, ie, abstracts a part of the pattern from the pattern as a whole. And then integrates that abstraction with basically similar abstractions into a concept.

    “Let us now examine the process of forming the simplest concept, the concept of a single attribute (chronologically, this is not the first concept that a child would grasp; but it is the simplest one epistemologically)—for instance, the concept “length.” If a child considers a match, a pencil and a stick, he observes that length is the attribute they have in common, but their specific lengths differ. The difference is one of measurement. In order to form the concept “length,” the child’s mind retains the attribute and omits its particular measurements. Or, more precisely, if the process were identified in words, it would consist of the following: “Length must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity. I shall identify as ‘length’ that attribute of any existent possessing it which can be quantitatively related to a unit of length, without specifying the quantity.”
    Rand

    :The child does not think in such words (he has, as yet, no knowledge of words), but that is the nature of the process which his mind performs wordlessly. And that is the principle which his mind follows, when, having grasped the concept “length” by observing the three objects, he uses it to identify the attribute of length in a piece of string, a ribbon, a belt, a corridor or a street.”
    Rand

    “Similarity is grasped perceptually; in observing it, man is not and does not have to be aware of the fact that it involves a matter of measurement. It is the task of philosophy and of science to identify that fact.
    A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition. By organizing his perceptual material into concepts, and his concepts into wider and still wider concepts, man is able to grasp and retain, to identify and integrate an unlimited amount of knowledge, a knowledge extending beyond the immediate concretes of any given, immediate moment.”
    Rand

    “In any given moment, concepts enable man to hold in the focus of his conscious awareness much more than his purely perceptual capacity would permit. The range of man’s perceptual awareness—the number of percepts he can deal with at any one time—is limited. He may be able to visualize four or five units—as, for instance, five trees. He cannot visualize a hundred trees or a distance of ten light-years. It is only his conceptual faculty that makes it possible for him to deal with knowledge of that kind.”
    Rand

    “Conceptual awareness is the only type of awareness capable of integrating past, present and future. Sensations are merely an awareness of the present and cannot be retained beyond the immediate moment; percepts are retained and, through automatic memory, provide a certain rudimentary link to the past, but cannot project the future. It is only conceptual awareness that can grasp and hold the total of its experience—extrospectively, the continuity of existence; introspectively, the continuity of consciousness—and thus enable its possessor to project his course long-range.”
    Rand

  284. Zombie,
    1, December 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm
    @Stephen, Bron: Aristotle did not know anything, Aristotle was a mystic and reasoning from mystical principles, just as Rand was reasoning from false premises. When one starts from wildly false premises as they did, then even if the reasoning is flawless (and Aristotle’s was not, and Rand’s certainly was not) then no conclusions are known to be right or wrong. The less predictive the original premises, the more probable it is the conclusions are wrong.

    This is proof that modern education is worse than worthless. Its a danger to man’s mind. Aristotle is the leading realist besides Rand. His rejection of Plato’s mysticism helped cause the Renaissance. His use of observation to start and guide knowledge is repeated throughout his philosophy and science. Reasoning starts from true premises. Your claim that reasoning can start from false premises merely exposes your subjectivism and mysticism.

    Aristotle discovered scientific method, ie, the basic cause of the 17th century rise of modern science. He taught man to reason systematically. No one before him did that. His errors of omission and commission are irrelevant because his basic ideas provided a rationally systematic method for identifying error. He was the first person to explicitly identify contradiction as the basic error in reasoning. He created the first system of logic, whatever its errors. His discovery of the principles of deductive logic and his systemizing of informal fallacies are in university logic texts today, whatever errors he made. He taught man how to systematically focus mind onto reality.

    He created the sciences of biology, psychology, meteorology, political science, literary criticism, etc. Darwin called him the best biologist in history. The identification of the process of induction was done on the basis of his philosophy. He discovered the method of rationally classifying concrete facts.

    Your out-of-context focus upon his errors, presumably in physics and astronomy, is proof only of your mystical reliance upon convention rather than observation. Your zombie psychology is a rejection of rational system, ie science. Mindless bodies are not systematic. They just flop around, moment to moment, until they fall over a cliff.

  285. @Stephen: Percepually, one merely associates patterns.

    Bull.

    @Stephen: our claim that reasoning can start from false premises merely exposes your subjectivism and mysticism.

    More bull. Aristotle believed there were five elements; Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Aether. Were there five elements, back then? Not one of those is “elemental” in any sense. If Aristotle reasoned from that premise, he was reasoning from a false premise.

    Of course it is possible to reason from false premises; fiction authors do it all the time. Fictional detectives, for example, are hyper-alert to details, and always manage to see, in a trillion possible details, the one telltale detail that breaks the case. Quite often without even realizing it at the time! That is fiction. But the authors reason from that false premise, that any brain could be that attentive, filter that much information, and record that much detail, to create a dramatic story line. You do not have to believe the magic (as you have), but for the purpose of entertainment we suspend our disbelief to see how the heroes overcome their obstacles, and we do not enjoy the show if the rest of it does not logically follow from what we know is the false premise.

    Aristotle began from false premises, but some of them could be described as approximately true. Because most of reasoning was already known, and rationality does NOT depend very heavily on knowledge of the natural world or what is in it, Aristotle was able to reason from his approximate truths to approximate conclusions.

    But that is all: What I said is that Aristotle did not “KNOW” anything, meaning he did not have anything of certainty to report. Unlike Plato, because Plato did report many rational findings in geometry that remain true, because they do not depend upon anything BUT rationality.

  286. As always; the religious will resort to quoting their holy books, because they are utterly incapable of making an argument from their own mind. I do not read Rand, Stephen, once was more than enough, and hearing a clown tell a bad joke the second time does not improve it.

  287. Zombie
    1, December 15, 2012 at 11:11 am
    @Bron: For those of us scientists that do not believe in souls or other made up stuff like “essences,” for those of us that do not just accept raw assertions or received knowledge or claims of divine inspiration,

    For Aristotle, just as the shape of a door is the form of its wood, so the form of man’s body is its life or soul. Ie, the matter is arranged in a specific way, ie, not random as you neo-primitives believe. Soul, for Aristotle, is a natural explanation of a natural fact. Thus there are vegetative souls (plants), sensitive souls (brute animals) and rational souls (man). Youre merely associating his word usage with religion, a very religious cognitive habit, ie, believing that words control reality, ie, in the beginning was the Word. But words are symbols of concepts.

    Altho Aristotle was perhaps insufficiently clear about essence, in practice he used it as a method of knowledge, ie, the basic property of a concept.

  288. Zombie,
    December 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm
    > Neurons learn to match patterns,

    Neurons act mechanically, like like a hit baseball. Learning is an action of consciousness, perceptual or conceptual. Youre a neo-primitive mystic, believing in spirits in trees, rocks, etc. Patterns are not in nature but in a consciousness of nature. Nature just is. A pattern is nature as known by a consciousness.

  289. gbk
    1, December 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm
    SG,
    Could you please define the following phrases:

    I dont have time now but see Rand’s Epistemology, Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, or David Harriman’s Logical Leap.
    Also see the online Ayn Rand Lexicon for “concept,” “integration,” and associated concepts.

  290. Zombie,
    1, December 12, 2012 at 9:22 am
    @You do not value life if you put zero value on self-sacrifice to preserve life.

    Note the use of life as a floating abstraction. Life is the life of individual men, not an alleged mystical life transcending individual men. Man must value his own life to remain alive. If man (consistently) sacrifices his own life, he will not preserve his own life. Your tribal mentality demands the sacrifice of some individuals to preserve the life of other individuals. You have consistenly evaded the lack of a rational defense of that. For moral monsters like you,
    Life is to be valued, not sacrificed. Morality is a guide to life, not the sacrifice of life. Sacrifice is for moral sub-humans who reject their own minds as moral guide and their own lives as the moral purpose of their actions.

  291. @Stephen: Learning is an action of consciousness, perceptual or conceptual.

    No, it isn’t. Learning is a physical, biological process of physical, biological transformation. Consciousness is a physical, biological process too, it is neurons firing. Any claim to the contrary is unsupported mysticism and an unwarranted belief in magic.

    I reject your words of “perceptual” and “conceptual” because you cannot be trusted to use them in their common senses. So that part means nothing to me.

    @Stephen: Man must value his own life to remain alive.

    Bull. Men remain alive in comas for years, from which they eventually recover. In a coma they “value” nothing, including their own life. The reason they recover, without starvation or having been killed for food by animals, is that OTHER people valued their life and preserved it.

    Your ludicrous pronouncements are so easy to disarm it is ridiculous.

  292. @Stephen: Neurons act mechanically, like like a hit baseball.

    If you are attempting to imply causal certainty, then you are wrong. Neurons are living cells. Like all living things, they can tire and fail to perform. Sometimes their nutritive environment provides an excess of energy, and they fire when they should not. Sometimes they are depleted, and fail to fire when they should have. Neurons also grow new connections and prune old connections; sometimes neurons die. Neurons are no more machines than a rose bush is a machine; they are predictable within an envelope (like a rose bush will not grow into sequoia) but then, so are people.

    @Stephen: Youre a neo-primitive mystic,

    No, I am a scientist. You are the primitive mystic if you believe consciousness is something that exists outside of physical biology and nature, which is what you are implying by making a distinction between “consciousness” and “neurons.”

  293. @Stephen: Life is the life of individual men,

    You seem incapable of the simplest thoughts.

    You do not value the life of individual persons if you put zero value on the self-sacrifice of even one minute of your own life to preserve the entire life of other individual persons.

    The fact that you do not feel you should be obligated to sacrifice even one minute of your life to save the entire life of a child proves you do not put any value on the child’s life, because if you valued the child’s life it would be worth the “self sacrifice” of one minute of your effort to preserve it.

    Oh, wait, I forgot you speak Aynish, I am sure in Aynish the word ‘value’ must have some completely opposite meaning to what the dictionary definition says. I will stick with the plain English meaning: The only “value” you put on any individual life other than your is zero.

  294. Zombie
    >people are emotionally driven

    Your public confession of the base of your pseudo-scientific materialism is noted. Ie, your alleged science is a rationalization for evading reason for emotion.

  295. Zombie,
    >As for “conventional dictionary definitions:” Damn straight. Claims have no meaning or basis in reality if you can just redefine words to mean anything you want. Thinking otherwise is idiotic.

    How is your faith in convention different from faith in God? Both transcend observation of individual things as base of knowledge.

    >I AM claiming your view is false. That is not contextual, fool, that is saying your view does not comport with observed reality,

    Observed reality is [part of, see below] your context. You imply that your ideas are, as Ive said, out of context, ie, floating abstractions not derived from concretes.

    >it does not predict what we will observe in experiments or in the field or under the microscope, it does not provide any predictive power whatsoever. False.

    Your use of observation is not at the start of knowledge but merely for verifying arbitrary predictions. Raindances are not based on an observation-based theory about the cause of rain. But the raindancers then, and only then, observe the results of their experiment…uh, ritual. Observation is the start of reason, not merely for verification. Your start, as youve repeatedly said, is non-observation-based definitions, ie, not observation. However, reason starts in observation ,not in convention. Further, since definitions are definitions of concepts (or,as you ignorantly say, names), concepts are next scientific step after observation. Hypotheses are not the next step after observation. Concepts are. See Aristotle for the first systematic account of classifying observation. His biology starts with systematically precise, concrete observations of many living organisms that is what todays biologists do. Then he classifies (conceptualizes). Then he hypothesizes. Then he induces causes (with a theory of causes). Now rational prediction is possible. This is the method of the rise of modern science which the hypothetico-deductive method evades. You evade observation-and-logic-based classifying for convention. You rationalize convention w/an out-of-context use of science, as if you could reach the 3rd floor of a building without first reaching the 2nd floor.

    Your alleged science is a rationalization of the evasion of the need to focus your mind, as if an unfocused mind will cause the reality you fear to vanish. Youre a pseudo-scientific ostrich.

  296. @Stephen:

    A) Bullshit.

    B) You are not worth any further response, I have refuted everything you say and yet you still repeat yourself. Have fun in your echo chamber.

  297. Zombie,
    >the received knowledge of your dead heroes of a bygone age that invented a mythological “science” of explaining the world by making stuff up.

    Youre a liar with no evidence. Aristotle taught man to be rationally systematic about observation. Philosophers and scientists are increasingly returning to his philosophy and science. You will be laughed out of the universities.

  298. @Stephen: You will be laughed out of the universities.

    No danger of that.

    Stephen says: scientists are increasingly returning to [Aristotle’s] philosophy and science.

    No they aren’t. As with all approximations, the more progress we make in the accuracy of our science, as measured by predictive success in our anticipation of real-world outcomes, the less credence we give to the wild-ass guessers of bygone ages.

    Unlike you, I actually am a professional scientist. Have fun in your echo chamber lying to yourself.

  299. ustagurlinseattle
    >you can let people die or suffer in slavery because even the tiniest sliver of your time is more valuable than their entire life.

    More valuable to whom? You drop the context of the valuing individual. Value is not something beyond individual men. Value is something one seeks to gain or keep for one’s life. The first concern of rationally selfish people is their own life. The first concern of irrational altruists is sacrificing their life. As for “letting” people suffer, you beg the question of whether or not man has an absolute moral right to his own life. As altruist, you deny this absolute moral right. You view man as a moral slave to man and then denounce the effects while evading the cause, your altruist moral cannibalism. See: Soviet Union, Nazi Germany. Altruism contradicts benevolence. Compare the benevolent art of the much more selfish 19th century with the worlds of horror created by artists in todays altruist culture. Your concern is not benefing people. Capitalism, which has benefited vastly more people than other societies, is denounced by altruists because its not sacrificial.

  300. @Fool: No, scientific and logical refutation; but I understand how a fool that cannot tell the difference between fiction and reality could confuse the two.

  301. Tony C.
    @Stephen: Is there an objective and rational standard for what we should value more than our own life?

    >No, nor is one necessary, nor can one be developed.

    Ie, theres no objective and rational standard for sacrifice. After leaving the rationality of holding one’s own life as the moral standard, any sacrifice is irrational. Youre “free” to be irrational in any way that feels good.

  302. Zombie
    @Fool: No, scientific and logical refutation

    Within the context of perceived social approval, ie, a herd animal’s knowledge of the herd.

  303. Zombie,
    *>the more progress we make in the accuracy of our science, as measured by predictive success in our anticipation of real-world outcomes,

    What important outcomes have been successfully predicted by materialists?

  304. gbk
    >Conceptual Researchers Claim Concepts Do Not Require Conception

    The comments following this are so bizarre that they could be a primitive attempt at understanding conceptualization or they could be satire.

  305. @Stephen: You are not worth talking to, Stephen. You just follow your script, you have no original thoughts, you are just a parrot listening for keywords to trigger your recordings. No logic of your own, no ability to think on your own, just a pointless ability to quote works of fiction written by con woman. Since I have already demonstrated by my earlier responses that all you have is foolish empty-headed rhetoric, it is no longer worth my responding to your questions or insults.

  306. Zombie,
    @Stephen:
    >you have no original thoughts

    Youre a creative fraud. No, wait, your ideas are, by your own statements, mere applications of convention. And refuted 2400 yrs ago by Aristotle. I still want to know what important practical values have been achieved by materialists.

  307. @Stephen: No, you are a liar. You do not actually want to know anything, you just want some trigger words. Polly wants a cracker.

  308. Zombie
    @Stephen: No, you are a liar. You do not actually want to know anything, you just want some trigger words. Polly wants a cracker.

    I’m glad that we finally agree that materialism has no important scientific discoveries. Have you considered selling shoes?

  309. Zombie,
    1, December 18, 2012 at 10:59 am
    @Polly: Just more lying. You aren’t getting a cracker.

    You assert yourself. Therefore you are. Don’t corrupt your assertions w/evidence. BTW, how’s your self-consciousness these days? A bit…wobbly?
    More difficult to evade?

  310. @Bron: In addition to trigger words, many of us have understanding. Parrots are typically trained to repeat phrases mechanically, like a biological tape recorder. There is no intelligence or understanding behind that canned rhetoric, the goal for the parrot is to just replicate the sound precisely.

  311. Stephen Grossman,

    “gbk

    Conceptual Researchers Claim Concepts Do Not Require Conception

    The comments following this are so bizarre that they could be a primitive attempt at understanding conceptualization or they could be satire.”

    Upon reading the material again I would have to agree that it’s a primitive attempt at understanding conceptualization. Thanks for the heads up.

    ————————————————–

    “You assert yourself. Therefore you are.”

    That’s the most profound thing I’ve ever read, Stephen!

    It sounds vaguely familiar somehow, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Kudos on conceiving complex concepts and putting them forward in so few words.

    BTW, I found another article that gives credence to your arguments and I’d like your opinion on it. It’s from the University Of Consciousness And Purpose and it’s entitled, “Does Consciousness Have Purpose?” Following is an excerpt:

    ——-

    . . . this debate has been raging for our entire existence as a species: Did consciousness arise for a purpose, or did our purposeful actions over time bring about consciousness?

    “Lower life forms, such as amoebas, bacteria, some plants, and, umm, I don’t even want to talk about viruses, along with many lesser endowed mammals don’t possess the concept of consciousness,” stated Dr. Rube, “the cognitive impact of human consciousness cannot be understated from a superior conceptualized consciousness perspective.”

    When asked whether amoebas have conceptualized consciousness and therefore possibly possess purpose, Dr. Rube explained that:

    “. . . amoebas definitely have some form of consciousness — as they die when removed from a moist environment and all life forms ‘know’ when they’re dying — but they [amoebas] seem to have no purpose because if they possessed purpose they would adapt to non-moist environments so as to live out their purpose. In other words, they don’t assert themselves, therefore they aren’t.”

    ——-

    The University Of Consciousness And Purpose has posted an excellent video that I think you’d enjoy, Stephen, see below.

  312. Bron,

    “Arent you an atheist?”

    Why, yes, Bron; I am.

    Apparently, like your brethren, you have difficulty recognizing satire.

  313. gbk:

    no, not really. But given the intellectual climate of today? One never knows. There are people who actually believe the ideas presented in those and other videos of that nature.

    There are people who think consciousness is collective.

    I have had discussions with people on this blog who think planets can have consciousness.

    The ideas presented in that video are not that far from the mainstream of how many people think.

  314. Zombie
    >How does one “focus” on “similarities”?

    With volitional mind, the mind that nihilists hate because it means that man is absolutely responsible for himself. Nihilists put a lot of will into evading focus and feel rage at those who focus. They dont want to be reminded that they choose to evade using man’s basic method of survival. They seek rationalizations of evasion, eg, materialism, altruism, nihilism, etc.

  315. Stephen Grossman:

    Tony C is a PhD and business owner, he had to focus to attain those values. he used his mind to achieve. he was responsible for himself and provides for his own life and others [in the form of taxes he pays].

    He has created value for others [at least that is what he says]. It seems that he has been productive, he is an altruist by choice but he doesnt seem to be a nihilist.

    Why do you say he has chosen to evade his mind? It seems he has used it to create a good life for himself and his family.

  316. @Bron: I think Stephen just parrots Rand, if somebody doesn’t swallow the Rand philosophy whole and unexamined, they are “evading their mind.” Of course it isn’t MY mind I am evading, it is Rand’s, but Stephen is emotionally captured by Rand and thinks her writing is infallible, and by THAT definition anybody that deviates from Rand language, definitions, or conclusions is necessarily wrong, and the Rand-approved phrases to describe such people are “evading their mind,” “dropping the context,” “nihilist,” etc. I do not think he really cares what those phrases mean (if anything), he is just a parrot reciting verses from his holy book, ad nauseum.

    Stephen accuses me of the crime he commits; it is he that evades his own mind, by surrendering all critical thinking to Rand. His surrender to Rand is so complete, he is apparently incapable of debate without mindlessly using her twisted and purposely deceptive language.

  317. Bron
    >Stephen
    Tony C is a PhD and business owner….Why do you say he has chosen to evade his mind?

    Im identifying his philosophical ideas, not his personal life. Whatever rationality he may have in parts of his life, he rejects it in man’s life as a whole and in his presumed work as psychologist.

  318. Skeptic Griggsy
    1, December 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm
    >economic patriots like Buffett

    Fascism is sacrifice to the nation, contra the original US politics of individual rights. The full name of the Nazi Party was the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany. Its rational to be patriotic to an individual rights nation and traitorous to any other kind of nation. Patriotism is not an unlimited value.

  319. Zombie
    >@Bron: I think Stephen just parrots Rand,

    Personal attack.

    >Stephen accuses me of the crime he commits

    Tu quoque (youre another) fallacy.

    Crime? Thought crime! The Thought Police are coming! Hide your ideas. Stop thinking.

    Zombie evades man’s mind in his theories of psychology and in debate, a perverse consistency.

  320. @Polly: No cracker for you, your repetition is too boring. But feel free to scavenge crumbs from my other conversations, you poor bird in your pathetic Aynish cage.

  321. Zombie,
    1, December 19, 2012 at 10:07 am
    @Bron: See what I mean? Trigger words and he spits out a cliche or pre-recorded BS.

    Note the nihilist hatred for man’s mind and logic.

  322. Bron
    1, December 19, 2012 at 10:44 am
    >Stephen Grossman: Tony C is a bit of tyrant, is that what you are talking about? He much prefers Rousseau to Locke.

    A nihilist tyrant without ideals, power for the sake of power, destruction for the sake of destruction, like the killer in the recent school shooting.

  323. @Bron: I am no fan of Rousseau; in fact you agreed with me on that point: Total animalistic anarchy is very easy to defeat philosophically; remember?

  324. @Bron: ??? I never claimed he was for anarchy.

    I am not so sure he was for a “powerful” state, he basically argued for majority rule and obedience to it. Which is a pretty generic endorsement of Democracy in general. I will grant that is different than what modern Free Market advocates endorse, since they would (if they could) prohibit even a 95% super-majority from regulating the markets.

    Essentially (as I see it) Free Market advocates want to promote freedom from regulation to the status of a human Right, but I do not think that will ever happen, or should ever happen.

  325. free market advocates would like rules to play by, just objective rules which dont change in the middle of the game. And arent based on politics or bad science.

  326. @Bron: Rules that change in the middle of the game are a reflection of GOOD science. That is the point of science, to learn something new. What do we do with new knowledge? Apply it.

    We try rules, and based on the outcome of those rules, we devise new rules we believe will produce better outcomes, and repeat that process until we are happy enough with the outcomes that we are no longer driven to change the rules.

    As for politics. Ultimately we have politics and governance as the last resort to correct what we regard as injustices. Making rules is the whole point of politics, we collectively want to control those people that would act in ways the rest of us consider unjust, unfair, exploitive or harmful.

    As Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” This is what he was saying, men are NOT angels, and government (and politics) is the dam that holds back the jerks, the psychopaths, the sociopaths, the cheaters, the exploiters, the frauds and the irretrievably selfish. And every time we find another leak in that dam, we have to clamor to get it plugged.

    I grant we have some problem with corruption, but as I have said many times before, if you trace the origin of business restrictions on the books, they almost always trace back to some jerk ripping somebody off, screwing somebody over, or creating a disaster and getting away with it (and often getting rich off it) because it was legal. So we plugged the hole and made it illegal. That is politics, and it is also (I think) a rough form of science.

  327. Zombie,
    @Bron: I am no fan of Rousseau; in fact you agreed with me on that point: Total animalistic anarchy is very easy to defeat philosophically; remember?

    As distinct from animalistic totalitarianism…

  328. Zombie
    @Polly: No such thing. No cracker for you.

    “I have denied knowledge therefore, in order to make room for faith,”
    said Kant, uber-liberal, leading intellectual influence in 1920s and 1930s Germany and today in the West.

    The guards at the Nazi concentration camps didnt try to convince prisoners that Nazism was true. They had been told by their teachers that man’s mind was worthless. As Hitler said, “At a mass meeting [conventional definitions], thought is eliminated.” Notice the materialist explanations, guns and psychology, for the recent school shooting. Only Objectivists point to ideas, to the nihilism, the hatred of values and reason, of our culture that spews forth from irrationalist intellectuals like Zombie.

  329. Zombie,
    >freedom from regulation… I do not think that … should ever happen.

    Zombie wants to regulate people, ie, he wants power over people, as he shows with his anti-mind “psycholology.”

  330. Zombie,
    >We try rules, and based on the outcome of those rules, we devise new rules we believe will produce better outcomes, and repeat that process until we are happy enough with the outcomes that we are no longer driven to change the rules.

    Note very clearly that he has no purpose, not even an irrational purpose, just mindless, short-range action, rationalized by Pragmatism. This too, the fanatic belief in action, action for the sake of action, was an important idea in Weimar Germany

    we collectively want to control those people that would act in ways the rest of us consider unjust, unfair, exploitive or harmful.

    Note his politics of power, not individual rights, that he doesnt even attempt to justify w/an objective value. “We collectively” is the modern substitute for man’s objective mind. This is Kant, with his claim that all men have the same subjective mental machinery preventing them from knowing reality. Later philosophers substituted race, economic class, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc, etc. Individuals and cultures are disintegrating, ie, Weimar Germany.

    >if you trace the origin of business restrictions on the books, they almost always trace back to some jerk ripping somebody off

    They trace back to statist intellectuals who want the individual forcibly sacrificed to society and who, evading the indirect govt controls, blame freedom for any problem. Zombie cannot point to any economic problem thats caused, however indirectly, by freedom from govt. He evades indirect causes for merely direct causes. Zombie’s contempt for man’s independent mind is his view of psychology, a perverse consistency.

  331. Zombie,
    >men are NOT angels

    ie, govt must force sacrifice

    >and government (and politics) is the dam that holds back the jerks [note the scientific precision of this concept], the psychopaths, the sociopaths, the cheaters, the exploiters, the frauds and

    >the irretrievably selfish.

    If men wont voluntarily jump into a sacrificial fire, the Zombies of the world will push them in. The Zombies hate independent people because they remind the Zombies of their chosen, cowardly, humiliating dependence on the minds of others.

    The problem with individual criminals who initiate force or fraud is tiny compared to millenia of govt murder, assault, imprisonment, theft and slavery, all justified by sacrifice to society, the nation ,the state, God, etc. Hitler, Stalin and Mao were loud, explicit, repetitive advocates of sacrifice.
    You say they were insane? People whose minds are impotent are attracted to politics that promises a substitute, the fist and the gun.

  332. tony c:

    I havent yet read any of Stephen’s replies to your post to me but I imagine he is laughing and saying yep, totalitarianism.

    Maybe you dont understand what you are saying, I dont think you are a bad guy nor is most anyone on this site. I honestly think you mean well and want people to be healthy and happy and productive members of society.

    We just speak a totally different language and there is no mechanism for translation. Nor is any compromise possible between the 2 philosophies, they cannot coexist. Unfortunately yours is winning. And when I say yours I mean the liberal/Evangelical/neocon philosophy. Which is all about totalitarianism in various forms and to various degrees. Or as Stephen might put it an abdication of reason.

    Individual freedom doesnt have a very good track record in regard to the human race. I dont think most people are smart enough nor have enough self confidence to embrace it. It is such a pity too, they dont know what they are missing out on.

  333. @Bron: they dont know what they are missing out on.

    No, you do not know what YOU are missing out on, and that is a good thing, really, because what you are missing out on is a life of miserable subjugation and rule by strong men and cabals that would exploit you ruthlessly.

    Bron says: Individual freedom doesn’t have a very good track record in regard to the human race.

    And yet, since the post-Depression new Deal, in 80 years the USA has built the greatest economic powerhouse the world has ever seen. In fact we have generated so much money that the money itself has become a problem by becoming a force for corruption; but we will fix that eventually and move on.

    The proof is in the pudding, Bron. Call it totalitarianism, call us insecure cowards, we don’t care. Insults mean nothing, results mean everything. The vast majority of us live in comfort, our streets are reasonably safe, our houses are reasonably safe, our retirement is reasonably safe, our work places are reasonably safe, we have reasonable recourse if somebody (like a boss) tries to oppress us and the law (as opposed to a lawsuit) is on our side there.

    There are some problems with freedoms, the government oversteps at times and it seems it takes decades to walk back those oversteps, but the vast majority of us would still rather live and work here than in the far more “free market” English speaking India. Trust me, I have been there (shudder).

    We LIKE almost all of those business regulations you complain about, because the reality is that employers are aggressive jerks that would oppress us if they could and we have no workable recourse if they all do that, that is why we demanded those regulations you complain about.

    It is you guys that abdicate reason, you are just like the religionists, you think you have an answer and you work to justify it. You don’t care what really happened or what is really happening; if it doesn’t fit your preconceived notion of how it should be, you dismiss it. That is not “reason.” Reason is facing reality.

    One of those realities is your delusion that YOU are smarter and more intelligent than the hundreds of millions of people in this country that embrace the current system, including a host of billionaires and an army of millionaires. I find it curious that you are so smart, so intelligent, and have readily admitted you are greedy for money, but cannot figure out how to join their ranks.

    This system works, Bron, that is the fact. In one country after another, the more unregulated markets are the worse the plight of the workers. We haven’t abdicated reason, we have embraced reality: The greatest good for the greatest number is done by collectively (by law) restraining the greedy sociopaths and psychopaths that would strip us of all liberties if they could get away with it.

  334. Bron,

    “And when I say yours I mean the liberal/Evangelical/neocon philosophy.”

    What philosophy is this, Bron? A catch-all? I’ve never heard of it.

    “We just speak a totally different language and there is no mechanism for translation.”

    This is certainly true. That’s what happens when you makeup meanings to words to suit your purpose, sort of like, “liberal/Evangelical/neocon philosophy.”

  335. Zombie,
    >rule by strong men

    Note the Marxist evasion of the life-and-death distinction between production and force. And the evasion of the strong men (Hitler, Stalin, Mao) needed for and attracted to the continuing increase in govt force.

    >since the post-Depression new Deal, in 80 years the USA has built the greatest economic powerhouse the world has ever seen.

    Just as this scientific fraud evades causes for coincidences in his study of man, he evades causes for coincidences in economics. He evades mind as cause in psychology and economics. Production is the application of mind to the problem of survival. And, since mind is volitional, it needs freedom from the initiation of force that Zombie slobbers for.

    >In fact we have generated so much money that the money itself has become a problem by becoming a force for corruption;

    Ie, the production of material wealth is evil, a view shared by religionists and New Leftists.

    >Call it totalitarianism, call us insecure cowards, we don’t care. Insults mean nothing, results mean everything.

    Hitler shares Zombies anti-intellectual Pragmatism. “The know-it-alls are the enemies of action….We approach the world only in strong emotion and action….Important is not what is right but what wins.” And how will Zombie’s arbitrary results occur except w/the strong men he denounces above?

    Here is LG Tirela, a philosophical Nazi ideologist who applies Kant’s moral subjectivism: “The deed is all, the thought nothing!”

    > if somebody (like a boss) tries to oppress us

    Ie, those who produce wealth are oppressive and should be enslaved or destroyed by a non-oppressive, totalitarian dictatorship

    >the far more “free market” English speaking India.

    Note the virtually psychotic concern with this isolated moment here and now, with no memory of the past. Indian capitalism exists in a society which has been mystically other-worldy and thus poor for millenia. Since capitalism hasnt completely replaced that in a Pragmatist nano-second, Zombie condemns it.

    >employers are aggressive jerks that would oppress us if they could

    Notice the Marxist, anti-free, will group mind. But traditional racial, ethnic, national, etc. prejudices will drop the Marxism because tradition is anti-theory. Those traditional prejudices will then be encouraged by Zombie’s group mind.

    And, again, Zombie condemns the most productive people, a condemnation that he wants politically enforced, an enforcement that will decrease production. Zombie doesnt care. He hates production (as distinct from the consumption of loot).

    >if it doesn’t fit your preconceived notion of how it should be, you dismiss it. That is not “reason.” Reason is facing reality.

    For Pragmatists (see above), reality is an unknowable chaos requiring short-range reasoning and action and a totalitarian govt to enforce this. This is the world of addicts, the insane, babies and primitive savages. This is what he means by “facing reality.”

    > your delusion that YOU are smarter and more intelligent than the hundreds of millions of people in this country that embrace the current system, including a host of billionaires and an army of millionaires.

    Lacking proof, he appeals to popularity and authority.

    Further, markets are the product of the knowledge of many people producing for a market. Bureaucrats substitute their own tiny knowledge of production for that.

    >This system works

    For this isolated Pragmatist moment, for an arbitrary and short-range and constantly changing purpose. (Rand satirizes this in Atlas Shrugged) And what happened to our current economic depression that can be blamed on capitalism? If the system works, there is no problem.

    the more unregulated markets are the worse the plight of the workers.

    Kant’s destructive effect on our culture is the substitution of emotion for reason. Zombie does not have the slightest evidence for this. For almost all of man’s history, govt has controlled production and production was extremely low. Our present prosperity is the product of 300 yrs of (inconsistent) capitalism (minus the production that didnt occur because of govt). Note the eva sion of the Soviet Union, No. Korea, Cuba, East Germany, East Berlin, pre-capitalist India and China.

    Zombie must believe that the independent mind is impossible and impractical or he would instantly go insane or kill himself.

    >We haven’t abdicated reason, we have embraced reality: The greatest good for the greatest number

    The Nazi mass murders were the greatest good for the greatest number. The least number? Irrelevant. Sacrifice is allegedly rational and realistic.

    >the greedy sociopaths and psychopaths that would strip us of all liberties if they could get away with it.

    Here Zombie projects his own anti-mind powerlust onto rationally productive people. In The Fountainhead, an Ayn Rand villain says, of the hero who he is framing for a crime and wants sent to jail, “He’ll take orders!” Zombie has the morally empty selflessness of a Nazi death camp guard guided, not by values, but by duty, sacrifice as an end in itself.

  336. gbk
    >you makeup meanings to words to suit your purpose

    Meaning is the product of mind focused onto reality, not a revelation or a public opinion poll for miserable creatures with no personal purposes.

  337. Bron,

    “at the root it is all the same.

    all are totalitarian in some form or other.”

    What a pathetic response. Your mopping up of and superficially assigning value with one word reeks of a judgmentalism you claim not to have, when really you just think the whole world is populated by fools — except the ones that agree with you.

    You even contradict yourself directly above:

    “Individual freedom doesnt have a very good track record in regard to the human race.”

    Of course, I’m sure you’ll claim that’s not what you meant, that it’s out of context or some other blustery defense, but it is what you wrote. So why do you harp on your “individual freedom” panacea so much if, in your words, “[it] doesnt have a very good track record in regard to the human race.”

    And you blithely say most people aren’t smart enough to see the world through your eyes, or that they don’t have enough self-confidence to embrace your astigmatic vision. What a joke, thanks for the laughs.

  338. @Bron: Isn’t that true? No matter how many people may clamor for some regulation of a business they believe is harming them, if it is not absolutely 100% of everybody, including the owners of the very business they are complaining about, then you believe that 99.99999% majority should be ignored. Correct?

    Isn’t that the desire for a totalitarian rule by you?

  339. gbk:

    does the human race have a good track record of individual freedom?

    and it is exactly what I meant, human beings have a bad track record of living and let live.

    so we cant judge tyrants? dont want to hurt their feelings?

  340. tony c:

    just because 99 people out of 100 want something doesnt make it right or good.

    were you honest in your business dealings? I would say most business owners are, the customer takes care of those who arent.

    most human predators dont last long due to the rule of law and the market place. madoff made out because people thought the SEC was doing its job. had there been no SEC, people would have been more cautious.

  341. @Bron: just because 99 people out of 100 want something doesnt make it right or good.

    Then you are a totalitarian, because you (as the 1 out of a 100 that doesn’t want regulation) would impose your will on the 99. Correct?

    What makes your judgment of what is “right” and “good” for everybody else superior to their own judgment? If you believe you are in the 1% that is right and everybody else is in the 99% that is wrong, AND you advocate (as you do) for ignoring them and imposing your “right” and “good” system upon them regardless of their wishes, then you are a totalitarian; you are advocating for tyranny of your ideas, you are advocating for dictatorship.

  342. @Bron: To anticipate your answer, it is not advocating for “freedom” if what you want is the “freedom” to oppress people, the freedom to enslave people, the freedom to trick people or the freedom to exploit their desperation. That is not advocating for “freedom,” it is advocating for brutalizing the less fortunate to steal their time, their money, their health, and their lives.

  343. tony c:

    so advocating for individual rights is advocating for tyranny? how does that work? you are the only person talking about oppressing people. I am in no position to oppress anyone nor do I have any desire.

    only progressive ideas such as the personal income tax and the federal reserve steal their time and money. working themselves to death to pay all of the taxes and to keep up with the loss of buying power takes their lives and health.

  344. @Bron: You do not advocate for “individual rights,” you advocate for the repeal of regulations that protect people from tyrants and oppression.

    And the personal income tax is what we agree to pay so all citizens will be protected from tyrants and oppression, that is the definition of Rights. A system without taxes guarantees nothing except to the rich, which are usually the tyrants from whom we need to be protected.

    Only an utter moron thinks of taxes as theft, taxes are fees and insurance, fees for the use and maintenance of the infrastructure paid for by generations of people before you, and insurance that entitles you to reasonably good protection by the police, courts and military. You can complain they are too high, or the money is used inefficiently, or there is too much corruption, but calling all taxes “theft” is just plain stupidity.

  345. tony c:

    before, what was it 1913, there was no individual income tax. So are you saying the founders were morons? They did not believe in a tax on individual labor either.

    Most tax money goes to other people, it does not go to roads, bridges, etc.

    That is what all progressive arguments boil down to, calling the other person either stupid or racist. you just cannot help yourselves.

  346. @Bron: The founders explicitly believed in taxes to support the government; at the time they believed that could be done with tariffs and other such taxes. Notice their rhetoric was qualified, “No Taxation Without Representation” doesn’t mean they did not believe in taxes, it means they thought taxation entitled the taxed to representation in government.

    You are wrong about what the founders believed, the founders believed as I do, that the government must be funded by taxation of some sort, no matter what you may call it, the government needs revenue. Show some proof that there was any general consensus by the founders that individual labor should not be taxed, or stop lying about what the founders believed.

    @Bron: Most tax money goes to other people, it does not go to roads, bridges, etc.

    Are you taking into account the expenditures for military, police, courts and government administration employees, like the people in the DMV?

    Because if you are counting them amongst the “other people” then you are being purposely misleading; they are not on welfare, they are doing jobs. It takes people to serve people.

    As far as SS and Medicare, that tax money goes to other people because corporations cannot be trusted, by written contract or by heartfelt promises, to provide for a retirement or pension, the Great Depression sealed the deal on that situation FOREVER. Also, that experience showed us that people consistently sacrificed their long term interests for their immediate interests, which we all do. Staying alive today always trumps comfort thirty years from now.

    But at retirement, left with nothing, the elderly became a financial burden to the rest of us, because unlike the psychopaths the vast majority of us could not stand by while the elderly, with their greatly diminished productivity, became homeless, suffered illnesses they could not afford to treat, and starved. Especially the many robbed of their pensions and savings by the bankruptcy of companies they worked for their entire lives, and the collapse of banks and investments they thought were “safe.”

    It is impossible to correct that problem within the free market system, because every entity within the free market system can fail and leave debts unpaid and promises unfulfilled.

    The problem of elderly poverty can only be corrected by government; and what the founders really believed was that outside of a few human Right guarantees, people should rule themselves by majority vote, and the minority was compelled to abide by such decisions.

    It is not only the only way to provide that care, it is the best way. The government will not go bankrupt, it operates at cost alone and takes no portion of the taxes as private profit, and by every objective measure operates as efficiently (or better) than for-profit agencies. The administrative overhead of Medicare is under 5% of their premiums, the administrative overhead of for-profit medical insurance companies is over five times as high, 25% and over 30% for some (and, btw, includes those six and seven figure salaries, bonuses, perks and offices, and an army of lawyers working to deny benefits to people entitled to them; because the for-profit insurance company is inherently adversarial to all claims, while Medicare is not).

    Bron says: That is what all progressive arguments boil down to, calling the other person either stupid or racist. you just cannot help yourselves.

    This from the guy that says those of us that disagree with him are just not smart enough to embrace individual freedom (@ 12/20 8:02 AM).

    Well, I don’t know why you fail to understand the most basic logic, but stupidity might explain that. Your pining for people to “take responsibility” or embrace your version of “individual liberty” is just a stubborn denial of reality; that isn’t going to happen, EVER. It did not happen before, it will not happen in the future, humans do not work that way. Period. You might as well be wishing for Santa to fix it.

    There is a society, Bron, it is not just individuals, just like your computer is not just a random collection of atoms. A society is a collection of individuals organized with predictable mutual obligations and dependencies, just like a processor is a collection of atoms organized and bound to accomplish specific functions in specific amounts of time.

    There are no rights without a society, it is the collective obligation to enforce rights (and punish transgressions of rights) that makes a “right” mean anything. Just like a contract is worthless if there is no court to enforce it or police to compel the terms be met.

    Taxes that go to those that need it are there because our society, after decades of experience after the Industrial Revolution (which our founding fathers did not anticipate) recognized a chronic failure of the free market and chose that way to correct it, and we are bound by our obligations to society to obey that decision until society decides to change it.

  347. Zombie,
    >the less fortunate

    In Zombieland, nobody makes a choice to reason or evade. Neurons cause our bodies to flop this way or that. The Zombies are grateful to be relieved of the moral responsibility of choosing to reason or evade. Of course, they’re Zombies so there is a rather high price…

  348. Zombie,
    >just because 99 people out of 100 want something doesnt make it right or good.

    Zombie gets moral revelations from the Platonic Form of Society which transcends mere individuals.

  349. Zombie,
    > every entity within the free market system can fail

    This is a bizarre rationalization of the evasion of the historically unique prosperity of capitalism and the blood-soaked poverty of fascism/socialism. And, of course, the omniscient, omnipotent and omnigood state can never fail. Eg, Soviet Union (whoops!), North Korea, Nazi Germany, etc. etc. Capitalism relies upon the independent judgment of many millions of creative minds who respond to each others’ productivity w/more productivity. This is true historically and theoretically. What has fascism/socialism achieved but the desire to escape accross a border without a bullet in one’s back?!

  350. tony c:

    no cracker and no reasoned refutation.

    If he is a bird brain it should be easy to refute his claims.

    Have you read the Republic? Do you know the history of collectivism? He is making factual statements.

    Have you read An Enemy of the People by Heinrich Ibsen? Do you understand the concept of morality?

  351. @Bron: I have already refuted his claims, in the same way that all claims of alchemists have been refuted, they begin with wrong assumptions and from that poisoned tree all fruit is poisoned as well. I have, many times, pointed out what is wrong with those wrong assumptions, and since no Aynish can answer those refutations with anything other than vehement assertions that they are correct, I recognize a religious stance when I see one: They Aynish operate in a logic-free zone with one rule and one rule only: Nothing can be permitted if it might lead to selfishness being a bad thing. Just like a religion, they reason from the consequence they WANT (selfish is good) backwards to the conditions they think will lead there; even if those conditions are self-contradictory, puerile, or non-sensical.

    I am not the one making a radical claim, the Aynish are the ones making the radical claim that is completely contrary to what almost everybody knows; and they cannot prove it. In particular they cannot prove it using the language and definitions of plain English, all they can do is parrot Rand, and use Rand’s misleading definitions and made-up words and hope the dumb masses buy that pseudo-logic pseudo-science of thoroughly disproven concepts by REAL science.

    I do not care what factual statements he makes, he interprets them incorrectly and illogically time after time.

    Polly is a parrot, not smart enough to make an argument without reflexively reaching for Rand, quoting Rand, paraphrasing Rand, or relying upon Rand’s truly juvenile ideas, language, and definitions. I won’t argue with a parrot because they are incapable of argumentation, all they are capable of is repetition with childish insult.

  352. Zombie ,
    >they cannot prove it [Rand’s new theory of egoism] using the language and definitions of plain English

    Bible: In the beginning was the Word.
    Zombie: In the beginning was Plain English

    Both Bible and Zombie reject observation of the concrete ,material universe as the base of knowledge.

  353. @Polly: In the beginning was the tribe, and the understanding that several could survive and thrive if some of their time was devoted to cooperative sharing and mutual sacrifice, where all would die in misery without it.

    In the beginning was the understanding that others risking their lives to protect the individual automatically obligated that individual to risk their life to protect others; and in the beginning was the understanding that by the time adulthood was reached, one already owed a debt to society for the protections one had enjoyed without realizing it during one’s selfish, immature mental life as a child.

    In the beginning was the understanding that some people, because complex biological development is an unreliable crapshoot dependent on a hundred factors, would be disabled by defective mentalities that never matured enough to process this social calculus, and would forever remain selfishly greedy juveniles, and would thus need, like such children, to be restrained and controlled by force or the threat of force.

    That is reality, for humans.

  354. Zombie,
    > In the beginning was the tribe

    In your intellectual beginning was the evasion inside your mind and social metaphysics as its rationalization.

  355. tony c:

    you can call it what you want, but the bottom line is that France will, if they already havent, make laws preventing people from leaving France. This will be done to prevent rich people from leaving.

    This always the way of collectivism, it doesnt work and the evidence is for all to see. it has been a spectacular failure.

    Socialism is always a spectacular failure and the intelligentsia double down on it. They take a period of time, at the beginning of industrial capitalism and decry the “robber” barons for lavish wealth and have persecuted successful people ever since. making it harder to produce and then they blow smoke up the working man’s a$$ saying if it wasnt for the elite, the working man would be in terrible shape.

    Well the wages in North Dakota are astronomical because of competition for labor.

    John Locke doesnt say we owe anything to society, we enter into society not for welfare but for mutual protection from predators who are mostly liberal politicians.

  356. @Bron: That doesn’t make sense; if you enter into society for mutual protection, then you obviously owe protection to others, which may cost you your life. There is no free lunch, Bron, if you want others to risk their life to protect your rights, you must risk your own to protect the rights of others.

    Further, if one loses their life, he has to believe the others will care for his wife and children, otherwise he will be reluctant to risk his own life. The only way he knows that is by the example of how the tribe treats the loved ones of the other fallen, and how they are remembered. And that is the only way to get twenty men to hunt an animal that it would be folly for a single man to try and bring down alone, just one example of how a cooperative collective is more powerful than the individual.

    That is mutual obligation, that is collectivist society, it began in tribes as soon as our ancestors learned to throw rocks with accuracy, and it NEVER fails us, what fails us is greed, free riders, and the personal quest for power and control.

  357. Bron
    >If he is a bird brain it should be easy to refute his claims.

    Zombie is a nihilist, committed to the destruction of values and reason. He does not value proof and refutation. You cannot reason with him. He has made his choice and you must respect that, not the particular choice, but that he has the obliga All you can do is expose his destructiveness to those who retain some respect for their mind.

  358. Bron
    >If he is a bird brain it should be easy to refute his claims.

    Zombie has rejected his mind, his power of proof and refutation. You cannot reason with him. He has made his choice and you should respect the obligation to choose even when you despise a particular choice. You cannot reason with him any more than with a dog. All you can do is expose his destructiveness to those who retain some respect for their mind.

  359. Zombie,
    @Polly: No crackers, Polly, you still haven’t learned to talk like a person.

    Zombie’s person evades reason for social approval.

  360. tony c:

    sure it does, you just dont understand because of your intellectual outlook. And I dont understand how an individual, with inherent, inalienable rights, owes anything to society except respect for those rights in others.

    When you go to war, in a properly constituted state, it is for the protection of your liberty, it is not to change governments, or to stop the red menance in Viet Nam or to protect Kuwait from Sadam Hussein or to stop the Kaiser from invading France or to arrest Manual Noriega.

    You go to war when a country threatens your liberty or attacks you. If you have the possibility of losing your freedom, you arent fighting for the state but for what you value, your freedom. In this case the “state” owes you nothing, in a progressive state which fights unlimited wars for any reason except the survival of individual freedoms and rights, then you would be correct.

    But you argue from the standpoint of a diseased state as the basis of your observations and knowledge. You take systems which are corrupt and accept that as the norm.

    C. Bradley Thompson has an excellent article on public education, you should read it. It will give you some insight in why you believe as you do. Public education has created a distorted view of the world and a malignant epistemology.

  361. @Bron: I dont understand how an individual, with inherent, inalienable rights, owes anything to society except respect for those rights in others.

    What do your rights mean if they are not protected? What do your rights mean if you cannot take somebody to court, if nobody is punished for violating them, if there is no mechanism to enforce rights?

    Does an orphaned infant have the right to life? What good is that if somebody can kill the infant for fun and never be punished?

    What good is your “inherent, inalienable” right to property if any gang can take it from you by force? What good is a woman’s right to her own body if any man can knock her out, rape her, blind her and move on?

    Are you just looking for justification in fighting back? Why bother, if there is no enforcement, who cares if you are justified in fighting back? If there is no court to enforce the rights of other people, you do not need justification, you live in anarchy and it is every person for themselves.

    Rights are meaningless rhetoric if they are not protected (or at least violations are punished) by the force of the collective. My rights, and my freedom, mean that the collective will act to protect me if my rights or freedom are violated, or if protection is impossible due to a fait accompli, they will at least punish those that violated my rights or freedom, to discourage such action in the future.

    Further, my “payment” for such protection is my agreement to contribute toward the protection or punishment on behalf of others. It is not a right or freedom if you have to pay to get violators punished, that is just a mercenary state.

    Rights mean nothing without a society enforcing them. As always, you completely ignore the key issue, that some gangs of people will ruthlessly ignore your rights and take everything you have, including your life, and nobody, including you, is strong enough to withstand being outnumbered ten to one. They need to face the threat of all of the manpower and resources of a collective coming after them, THAT is what gives them pause and restrains them, not your puny automatic rifle. Because the gang knows, you will sleep, you can be burned out, you can be snipered, you have to eat and drink and you cannot hole up forever.

    The story isn’t about you respecting other people’s rights, the question is what is your recourse when an overwhelming force wants whatever you have? What happens when the slavers arrive and your family is faced with the choice of chains or death? Your rights mean nothing if they are not protected by force.

  362. @Bron: It will give you some insight in why you believe as you do.

    No, it won’t. I do not accept anything anybody says unless they can prove it from principles that I agree are self-evident to ME. My philosophy is not received knowledge at all, I do not trust anybody else to know the truth and tell it to me. Unlike you, I accept no philosophy that is not firmly grounded in reasoning from self-evident axioms with plain language.

    I am not the one brainwashed, Bron, you are.

  363. tony c:

    you were brainwashed by public education at an early age and never woke up to that fact.

    you seem to refuse to accept that Locke says government is for the protection of life, liberty and property. those 3 things, nothing else, you dont enter into society to be a milch cow for your neighbor.

    Locke is very plain language.

  364. @Bron: Why do you care what Locke thinks?

    What makes Locke utterly infallible, in your mind?

    Why would you raise any man to the height of a God? Especially a man that we can be certain knew far less than you do about nature, physics and chemistry, and even human psychology?

    I do not see other men as any less fallible than I am; fame does not impress me. Widespread acceptance does not impress me. They are not convincing arguments to me in the least, and Locke’s limitation on what purpose government may serve is just his own assertion and dismissal of the other functions of government without any valid justification.

  365. Zombie,
    >self-evident axioms

    Your allegedly self-evident axioms are based in social approval, not reality. Further, society is a complex concept derived from the self-evidence of reality.

  366. Zombie,
    >[Locke] knew far less than you do about nature, physics and chemistry, and even human psychology?

    Political philosophy is based on the more basic branches of philosophy, not on the special sciences. He didn’t need to know about string theory and neurons to know that individual rights is a universal need of man in society.

    >Widespread acceptance does not impress me

    You restate widespread acceptance as common definition but Im certain you will now find some non-essential difference.

    >Locke’s limitation on what purpose government may serve is just his own assertion and dismissal of the other functions of government without any valid justification.

    There are no other rational functions of govt, which is why conservatives appeal to faith and liberals to popular emotion.

  367. @Polly: You restate widespread acceptance as common definition but Im certain you will now find some non-essential difference.

    This just exposes the shallowness of your thinking, Polly. In order to communicate an idea to another reader, one must use words as the other reader will understand them.

    To do otherwise is to engage in deception. In order to communicate an idea to many readers, one must use words that are going to be understood the same by all the readers, to use uncommon meanings of words, or redefined words, is to purposely evade communication of the true idea, usually in an attempt to deceive or to evade scrutiny of the idea. That means, if one truly intends for writing to convey an idea, the writing must use the common definitions of words.

    The difference you seek is not non-essential at all. Widespread acceptance of a conclusion does not mean the conclusion is valid; widespread rejection does not mean it is invalid.

    However, the meaning of a word is not a conclusion. It is already fixed and accepted by others to represent a given idea, relationship, or condition.

    Redefining existing words is similar to counterfeiting money, it is trying to get the reader to accept a word for what it looks like instead of what the writer really means. When the counterfeit works, it facilitates communicative fraud. Because the readers are mentally using the familiar meaning of the redefined words they are not alerted to the writer’s sleight of hand in logic and reasoning with those words, and thus are led to false conclusions.

    That is what happened to you, Polly. You rely so heavily on Rand’s verbatim words because you need HER redefinitions to support HER false conclusions which you bought. But if something cannot be explained in plain language using common definitions, it is not being explained at all, it is just your religious mumbo-jumbo incantations, the words you think have some magic power, masquerading as communication.

  368. Zombie,
    >In order to communicate an idea to another reader, one must use words as the other reader will understand them.

    Agreed, and that is why rational definitions are observation-based. Your common definitions are merely, by your own claim, based on social approval and nothing else. So all the believers in common definitions know is that an unknown X is socially approved. This is German social mysticism, society replacing God as the unobservable, transcendental source of meaning. Your rationalization fails because the quacks in philosophy depts havent produced rationalizations that can refute Rand. Your university studies were a worthless intellectual fraud.

  369. Zombie,

    >[me]Agreed, and that is why rational definitions are observation-based.

    Correction! Rational definitions can be understood because they are observation-based. Communicating them to others is derivative from understanding them oneself. Cognition precedes communication. Mind is individual, not social.

  370. @Polly: No, in order to communicate an idea to another reader, one must use words as the other reader will understand them.

    It is not necessary to qualify “definition” with “rational,” and there is no reason that definitions are “understood,” certainly not because of any observations. This is typical Aynish, trying too hard to sound technical and scientific to hide a complete lack of understanding. It reminds me of the frauds selling “quantum crystals” and “magnetic water.”

    You are so pathetic, Polly, so anxious to sound important and learned without actually knowing anything. Pathetic Polly the Pompous Pretender.

  371. Zombie,
    > there is no reason that definitions are “understood,” certainly not because of any observations.

    How is non-observational “understanding” different from faith in the supernatural?

  372. teaparty:

    maybe he has been doing that his entire life? that is what animals do. they take it in [observation] but they only process to a point.

  373. @Bron, Polly: If you do not believe there is anything BUT “observational” understanding, then why qualify “understanding” with the adjective “observational?”

    Why be redundant and waste that time? Thank you for proving my point, your lingo is meaningless, it is full of words that make no difference (like “observational”) and words that mean whatever you want them to mean at the time.

    People understand things when they discover a pattern or recurring state that we all recognize. You do not understand the word “sad” because you “observed” sad, you understand the word “sad” because when you were learning language you were repeatedly told that word in relation to feelings you were having, other people were having, characters in books or on TV or in a movie were having, people in the mall were having, and your brain figured out that “sad” was a label for a loose collection of negative emotions people felt, that were not anger or hate, that did intersect with “unhappy” but not precisely (e.g. a customer can be unhappy without being sad), that involved figurative emotional pain. “Sad” can intersect with “remorse,” but isn’t the same.

    You do not “observe” sad, you feel sad, and you recognize that feeling in others, and it doesn’t mean whatever you want it to mean, you do not get to arbitrarily redefine “sad” to mean “joyful” in some obscure book somewhere, and thereafter expect people to understand what you mean.

    Learning the meaning of the word “sad” is not “observational” learning, it is just learning, it is neurons associating the word with mental states, both internal and as imagined in others both real and fictional, and figuring out the most probable mental states that trigger the word. The word becomes a label for those states, or actually a label that can be used in several situations because we know it will be understood in context. Attending a funeral, we understand the spouse of the deceased is very sad, and it is no laughing matter. When your brother in law, in an attempt to stencil a snowy Santa Claus on his window, steps back and declares his work “pretty sad,” we do not hesitate to laugh, because we know he isn’t really sad.

    The meaning of the vast majority of words is understood by inference, even concrete words like “cold.” You do not understand cold because somebody put an ice-cube in your hand and said, “cold.” Your mind has too many candidates in that situation. What does “cold” represent? Is it the cubic shape? The material it is made of? The slippery texture? An emotional state in the giver? The emotional state in the receiver? A ritual for a certain day? The act of handing something to somebody? A command to do something? If you have never heard the word “cold” it is difficult to associate it with “low temperature,” unless it is explicitly imparted or you hear it enough that “low temperature” is all that is left, it is the most probable meaning. At that point, you have inferred one of the meanings of “cold.”

    Words have meaning because they are labels for mental states, reproduced by associating the word with a neural network which it fires. Those neural networks are developed by a probabilistic learning process, distilled from experiences, situations, feelings, and sensory experiences common to most normal people. The commonality is what warrants having a word for it, a shorthand to trigger a small collection of predictive or explanatory neural networks.

    If you want to call that a “reason” for meaning then fine, but I think it is just a definition of communication and learning to communicate. When I say there is no “reason” words are understood, it is because I think that is a tautology. What is a word if it is not understood? It is just a sound or random pattern of letters. To be a word it must trigger nearly identical mental reactions in both speaker and listener, or author and reader. Words are understood, by their nature. If you don’t know the word, you can learn what it means, and then it is understood. If there is a “reason” words are understood it is just because nearly identical common meanings were learned by the speaker and listener, but I think that is picking nits. A word is intended to be understood, unless you are a fraud like Ayn Rand trying to trick people into accepting her psychopathic disability as virtuous.

  374. Zombie,
    >Polly: If you do not believe there is anything BUT “observational” understanding, then why qualify “understanding” with the adjective “observational?” Why be redundant and waste that time?

    To differentiate it from your mystical, non-observational “understanding.”
    Making an idea explicit brings it under the control of the mind.

    > People understand things when they discover a pattern or recurring state that we all recognize.

    I could deny such an understanding but, instead, I’ll recognize the existence of pattern/recurring state understanding but as different from conceptual-concrete-causal understanding. I won’t even say that CCC is superior to PRS because that would beg the question of a standard of value. I will say, however, that PRS is the intellectual habit of non-Western cultures. If youre OK with fatalism, fear of nature, grinding poverty, near-starvation, occasional famines, no serious medicine or sanitation, no professional scientists (unless you count witch doctors) and mortality between the upper teens and 30, then go for it. I will say, also, that the rise of modern science was made possible by the rejection of PRS for CCC when, especially, Francis Bacon and Newton used Aristotle’s discovery of systematic CCC as their context for systematic experiment/induction/math. Descartes’ subjectivist science lost influence until resurrected in the Kantian 19th century w/Positivism. Positivism held back the
    broad acceptance of atomic theory for several decades after sufficient evidence was discovered.

    See John McCaskey (Philosophy, Stanford) for essays on the renaissance of
    Aristotle’s concept-based scientific method during the Renaissance.

  375. @Polly: Bullshit, and as usual, exactly backwards. My form of “understanding” led directly to the Enlightenment, industrial revolution, modern science and the modern technological world; your form of Aynish understanding is precisely the kind of mystical BS based on nothing but false assertion that it overcame.

  376. Zombie,
    Youre begging the question. You want prestige, not reason. Youre an intellectual fraud, a nihilist destroyer.

  377. tony c:

    as a marxist/socialist your philosophy was not a cause of the enlightenment. Marx was a follower of Hegel, I believe and teaparty 1776 can correct me, who was a philosophical product of Plato not Aristotle.

  378. @Polly: You do not even know what “begging the question” means, it is just another one of the favorite Aynish phrases used to fraudulently dismiss any argument they do not know how to answer. Along with, “dropping the context,” another favorite all-purpose dismissal.

    I already HAVE prestige, Polly. If I was posting to get more of it, I would not be posting anonymously, now would I?

    You are the intellectual fraud; my work is scientifically predictive of actual real outcomes. You are just a parrot, you have no work of your own, and the drivel you parrot does nothing to predict anything, in fact for they Aynish it is anti-predictive of actual real outcomes. It is not science, it is religion, based in falsehood. Like all religions, it is capable of predicting nothing, but of course explaining everything, because that is the purpose of religion: False explanations that are carefully designed to predict nothing so they cannot ever be proven wrong by any experiment, observation, or statistic.

    You got suckered, Polly, like all converts to a religion. The allure of the false but grand explanations suckered you into belief for its own sake, but you forgot the whole purpose of explanations, which is to predict our most probable futures and what actions we can take to pursue a future we want, and through our actions make it a more probable outcome until it comes to pass. The Aynish “explanations” are non-predictive or counter-predictive, when you work from a false view of reality, reality usually wins.

  379. @Bron: Except I am not a Marxist, and not a socialist. I do not accept any philosophy except my own, grounded in neurological and evolutionary psychology principles of cooperative tribal society, for which I personally find the evidence provided to be compelling to the point of almost certainly true.

    Marx was wrong. Pure socialism is wrong. Somewhere around a 50/50 mix of socialism and capitalism, regulated to prevent harm and control sociopaths, is what I believe is the most productive and happiest path for humanity.

    I do not believe in limiting either personal wealth or poverty. I believe some gradient for individual improvement is necessary to tap the ambition of individuals to work and do better.

    However, I also believe in limiting hunger, homelessness, sickness and exploitation of desperation, so I do believe in free education, free police protection, safe food, safe products, and safe workplaces. I do NOT believe that providing the basics of life and opportunity will cause any but a small percentage of people to just kick back and live in their cubicle and eat their gruel. The vast majority will still strive and work for more; and that has been proven in the partially-socialist, partially-capitalistic countries that DO provide the basics of food, shelter, health care and education for free and regardless of personal effort. 95% of the people still want to work and earn money for the things they want, including non-minimalist shelter.

    It is just as easy to argue against a Marxist or pure socialist or pure communist as it is to argue against anarchy, Bron. You guys keep returning to calling me those things because you do not know HOW to argue against an actual, reasoned position with evidence.

    You are religionists, captured by false explanations, and all you can do is argue against extremes that do not apply to me.

  380. Zombie,

    >My form of “understanding” led directly to the Enlightenment, industrial revolution, modern science and the modern technological world;

    Newton rejected mere mathematical patterns for causes. Youre a throwback to the voodoo practice of sticking pins into representations of people. Youre a witchdoctor,not a scientist. Newton would spit at you. Your form of understanding lead to Marxist gulags and Nazi death camps because those politics were based on the denial of mind as independent.

    > “begging the question” “dropping the context,”

    You finally confess that your ideas rest on logical fallacies.

    > I already HAVE prestige

    From other nihilists

    > my work is scientifically predictive of actual real outcomes.

    Your work is coincidental w/actual real outcomes since you confess to uncertainty.

    > the drivel you parrot does nothing to predict anything

    It predicts that when man evades reason, a rotten moral character and practical disaster are created.

    > purpose of explanations, which is to predict our most probable futures and what actions we can take to pursue a future we want,

    The basic purpose of explanation is knowing that man faces a knowable, orderly universe and that his mind can achieve certainty in knowing reality. Lacking that knowledge, man’s mind disintegrates into…well,
    just introspect and you will know. Derivative from the basic purpose, explanation guides prediction and control for practical survival. Lacking explanation, man is reduced to mere probabilities and crisis-management as a way of life.

    > when you work from a false view of reality, reality usually wins

    “Usually?!” Tell us about falsehoods when you win and reality loses.

  381. @Polly: The basic purpose of explanation is knowing that man faces a knowable, orderly universe and that his mind can achieve certainty in knowing reality.

    Bullshit. To what end? Who cares if the universe is knowable or orderly, or the mind can achieve certainty? What a pile of useless clap trap, a little tempest in a teapot that makes no difference to anybody’s reality.

    The point of explanation is to make a difference, specifically a difference in the real future, it is only useful to help us shape and guide the future we realize. That does not require either certainty or absolute order, it only requires probability, and that is what brains small and large are evolved to discern. Explanation that is not predictive or testable is religion.

  382. @Woosty: Because there is no necessary work, we have no requirements on politicians to do anything whatsoever, they do not even have to show up for work. Ever. They can be sworn in anywhere. Nice job, right?

  383. @Woosty: Because there is no necessary work, we have no requirements on politicians to do anything whatsoever, they do not even have to show up for work. Ever. They can be sworn in anywhere. Nice job, right?
    —————————
    so my tax burden is a figment?
    WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    that’s a game changer!!!!! ;)

  384. @Woosty: I think that is a pretty good analogy. Because, like the Mob, they seem to sell their services to the highest bidder, no matter whom it may harm, and like the Mob, the people that claim to be “serving” you and “protecting” you and “doing you a favor” are really just extorting you for their own breathtakingly selfish interest. (Read “breathtakingly” in both the literal and figurative sense.)

  385. @Polly: Newton would spit at you.

    Newton was an alchemist that literally believed in magic. He was so jealous of Liebniz (the true inventor of the calculus we use today) that I think he stooped to lying, subterfuge and character assassination in order to take credit for it. Let Newton spit all he wants, he was an emotionally pathetic human being.

  386. >Newton was an alchemist that literally believed in magic.

    Thus he did not discover universal gravity and laws of motion, two of the most influential discoveries in history?! Your anti-mind ideas guide your method of using your mind. Youre causing yourself to be functionally stupid.

  387. @Polly: Of course he did, Polly. But thank you for demonstrating the foolishly moronic absolutist thinking of all Aynish, your anti-rational insistence that everything is either 100% good or 100% bad. Newton was a jerk, a magical thinking, jealous, and even cruel person. He was also very good at mathematics.

    Your problem is, and always has been, blind hero-worship. Newton was a human being, not a god. Newton does not get a pass on being a cruel jerk just because he discovered something important; it is possible for a person to be both good and bad in the same body, there is, after all, more than one hour in any given day.

    More importantly, you seem to think that I worship Newton, or Einstein, or some other famous personage. I do not, I have no reverence for any human living or dead. Good ideas stand on their own, that is all I care about, and I presume the humans that came up with them were subject to all the emotional foibles and pitfalls of life as anybody else. I could not care less what Newton might think of me.

    But clearly, YOU would care what Newton thought of YOU, because you are a hero-worshipper, you crave approval from people you think are superior to you. That is why you think you insult me by saying Newton would spit on me; it is projection: That would bother you, so you think it would bother me. That is sad and stupid of you, Polly.

  388. Tony C.,

    I really wish I could agree with you but I jest cain’t….

    taxes do not exist simply to ‘pay politicians’….and politicians are not empowered to simply collect $$$$$$$, though it does appear, given the extraordinary temptations of lobbyists and lack of cahonas on the part of some to say no to same, that that is the sole raison d’etre of the genre….but it’s not and there are those who do actually attempt to ‘do the work’ without taking hostage and wreaking havoc on those whom they serve…. :P

  389. also;
    Tony C.
    1, December 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    “No, it won’t. I do not accept anything anybody says unless they can prove it from principles that I agree are self-evident to ME. My philosophy is not received knowledge at all, I do not trust anybody else to know the truth and tell it to me. Unlike you, I accept no philosophy that is not firmly grounded in reasoning from self-evident axioms with plain language.” ~Tony C.
    —————
    Holy wow, I’ve never seen a more perfected sentence of expression of closed minded….it is quite perfect….it may in fact be absolute!
    !

  390. @Woosty: Well, I was joking about the Mob; about 70% of our taxes go to help people in need, which I agree with completely. The rest goes to unnecessary military action, unnecessary military weaponry, and unnecessary bribery to foreign officials. A good chunk indirectly goes to tax breaks and favors for wealthy corporations. But when it comes to SS, Medicare, Medicaid, education, welfare, food stamps, free health care, etc. I am on board.

  391. @Woosty: I suppose I am closed minded, in the sense that I do not entertain claims without evidence or at least logic showing some plausibility. My mind is definitely closed to the supernatural.

    However, my mind is not closed to the unexplained if there is evidence of some action or mechanism operating, but we do not know what it is. DNA is cut and spliced (by spliceosomes) within a cell; they are very reliable in picking the same splicing sites time after time, but we do not know the exact mechanism that locks onto a site, that distinguishes exons from introns. That remains unexplained, but there is obvious evidence that some mechanism is at work, the results are not random.

    So do not think that I believe we know it all. In fact I think we know very little, and a great deal of progress remains to be made. There are many, many unexplained phenomena to investigate, elucidate, and potentially exploit for our own benefit, in physics, medicine, psychology, economics, sociology, chemistry, geology, and other evidence-based science.

    But faith and religion and philosophy are fictions or frauds. I can find them entertaining or appalling, but my mind is closed to taking them seriously as long as they remain closed to experimentation and logic and testable claims.

  392. Zombie,
    >Newton was a jerk, a magical thinking, jealous, and even cruel person.

    There is no rational concern with this in the context of Newton as scientist. Youre a conscious and deliberately destructive nihilist who attacks all values because they are values. You will now rationalize your desire to spit on Newton, the value-creator.

    >I have no reverence for any human living or dead.

    My point. You are evil, a death-worshipper. I revere Newton the scientist.

    >Good ideas stand on their own

    Thus you confess your conscious intellectual fraud of personal attack.

    >that is all I care about

    No, you care about nothing. Your ideas, your floating abstractions, are mere rationalizations of the evasion of reason. You have no values. You want to sacrifice all values. You have the soul of a Nazi death camp guard.

    >because you are a hero-worshipper, you crave approval from people you think are superior to you.

    Because I am a hero-worshipper, I approve some people. Your mention of approval from others in this context is bizarre. You dont want people to respect you because you know your soul is rotten, filled with destructive rage against an existence that wont grant your wish to be God and to get mindless, valueless, dutiful approval from others. You must feel empathy for all those school shooters. You are modern man at the end of his rope. See Munch’s “The Scream.”

  393. Zombie,

    >I accept no philosophy that is not firmly grounded in reasoning from self-evident axioms with plain language.

    Since you deny consciousness has content, you cant be conscious of existence. Without existence and consciousness as axioms (properly, axiomatic concepts), what are your basic axioms?

  394. Zombie,
    >scientific and logical refutation

    Socially approved (“common definition”) scientific and logical refutation

  395. @Polly: Since you deny consciousness has content,

    That doesn’t even mean anything. Consciousness is not a container. Not even metaphorically. You are a bird brain, Polly.

  396. @Polly: My point. You are evil, a death-worshipper. I revere Newton the scientist.

    No, this is my point. You revere Newton, I do not. Qualifying that reverence with “Newton the Scientist” is no better, you still revere a person, and Newton the Scientist is unavailable without Newton the Jerk, Newton the Liar, Newton the petty, jealous, insecure, hurtful, manipulative, irrational credit thief. That is who you “revere.”

    Despite his human flaws, Newton did produce a work of genius, and gave it free to humanity. Newton did not earn money from publishing his scientific work. He was born to a rich farmer, when he was three his widowed mother remarried into another well-to-do family, and he earned money as a professor and bureaucrat, and became wealthy through investments: But his scientific work was given freely.

    I do not have to “revere” him to acknowledge that, or to acknowledge that his work was genius, and despite his human flaws he gave half of his life to the advancement of the understanding of reality, without any attempt to enrich himself from it. I do not understand how that makes me a “death worshipper,” that is just silly bird brained hyperbole, I assume another Aynish phrase you cannot help but use.

    I will also point out that in revering “Newton the Scientist” you revere a scientific socialist like me, somebody that spends long hours developing new scientific knowledge only to give it away to better humanity. Newton was also a believer in giving to charities for the poor. Certainly if I am a “death worshipper”, so was Newton, and thus you revere a death worshipper.

  397. Zombie,
    >Newton the Scientist is unavailable without Newton the Jerk

    To perception but not to the mind’s power of abstraction.

    >human flaws

    Youre rationalizing your choice to evade your power of choice.

    > without any attempt to enrich himself from it. I do not understand how that makes me a “death worshipper,

    You attack values, values in principle, and values are a need of life.

    > you revere a scientific socialist like me

    Have you had a schizophrenic episode? A drunken blackout? Ive repeatedly denied that you are a scientist and repeatedly said that youre basically like the nihilist intellectuals in Weimar Germany who convinced their nation that man’s mind was evil, impotent and irrelevant. And I note that you finally confess to socialism, the ideology responsible for maybe 200M murders as well as vast misery for its living victims.

    >to better humanity

    To better your floating abstraction of humanity, you call for the sacrifice of individual, real humans. “Humanity,” for you is not a value but a way of rationalizing your rage at real humans. This is Platonic/Kantian bullshit, an evasion of concretes (you deny them) for a rationalized emotion. Even the Bible recognizes (allegedly) good intentions as the road to Hell.

  398. @Polly: Whatever your definition of “values” may be, I do not share it, because I do not attack them. Or defend them. If a person values one second of their time above the saving of a human life, then I attack that person, if they would choose prosperity for themselves at the expense of another, I attack that person, if they choose a path to prosperity that cares for others and does no harm, or only harms those in the first two classes, then I support that person. Those are my values about values.

    Polly says: you call for the sacrifice of individual, real humans. No, that is your philosophy, because your philosophy calls for the permission to exploit the desperation and hunger of individual, real humans, which is the permission to enslave them, abuse them, financially coerce them and threaten them with disaster if they do not kneel to your whim. Your idiotic philosophy sacrifices everybody on the altar of selfishness and lets the psychopaths reign.

  399. I’ve been busier than usual with the holiday season, so I missed almost all the fun of this thread until today. I have three things to say . . .

    1) Newton was indeed both genius and an unredeemable jackass. Unlike Ayn Rand who was a sociopath. And an unredeemable jackass.
    2) Objectivists are soooooooo easy. Fun to watch being deconstructed though. They’ve tried for years around here to gain some traction and yet always stumble in the face of critical scrutiny. I’ll have to give the egoistic lil’ sociopaths credit for persistence in the face of logic and evidence though. I guess that comes easy when you worship yourself.
    3) Carry on, Tony. Looks like you’ve got things well in hand.

    Oh, and I’ve seen almost all of this (sans Newton) before.

  400. @Polly: To perception but not to the mind’s power of abstraction.

    Except your abstraction is not Newton, or any valid representation of Newton. What you revere is a highly predictive result, a nearly perfected work of a highly imperfect man. A man that would have thoroughly rejected your objectivist philosophy because he believed fervently in God, miracles, and magic.

    What Newton did was produce a simplified model of gravity that reduced it to mechanistic and highly predictable action amenable to mathematical formulae. You can mistakenly revere the man, I prefer to appreciate the utility of a simplifying probabilistic model. In fact I find that more uplifting and inspiring, to know that for all his flaws, foibles and petty bullshit and magical thinking, Newton was still able to contribute greatly to the pursuit of understanding reality.

    Unlike objectivists, trapped in their religious circularity of denying anything that does not agree with their pre-determined and purposely untestable claims.

  401. Zombie
    >Your idiotic philosophy sacrifices everybody on the altar of selfishness

    You continue arguing about words rather than concepts. You continue evading Rand’s “new theory of egoism” and her principled, absolute rejection of conventional, predatory, pseudo-selfishness.
    ——–
    “The reasons why man needs a moral code will tell you that the purpose of morality is to define man’s proper values and interests, that concern with his own interests is the essence of a moral existence, and that man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions.

    Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men’s actions, any breach between actor and beneficiary necessitates an injustice: the sacrifice of some men to others, of the actors to the nonactors, of the moral to the immoral. Nothing could ever justify such a breach, and no one ever has.

    The choice of the beneficiary of moral values is merely a preliminary or introductory issue in the field of morality. It is not a substitute for morality nor a criterion of moral value, as altruism has made it. Neither is it a moral primary: it has to be derived from and validated by the fundamental premises of a moral system.

    The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own rational self-interest. But his right to do so is derived from his nature as man and from the function of moral values in human life—and, therefore, is applicable only in the context of a rational, objectively demonstrated and validated code of moral principles which define and determine his actual self-interest. It is not a license “to do as he pleases” and it is not applicable to the altruists’ image of a “selfish” brute nor to any man motivated by irrational emotions, feelings, urges, wishes or whims.

    This is said as a warning against the kind of “Nietzschean egoists” who, in fact, are a product of the altruist morality and represent the other side of the altruist coin: the men who believe that any action, regardless of its nature, is good if it is intended for one’s own benefit. Just as the satisfaction of the irrational desires of others is not a criterion of moral value, neither is the satisfaction of one’s own irrational desires. Morality is not a contest of whims . . . .”
    Rand
    ———–

  402. Gene H,
    >I’ll have to give the egoistic lil’ sociopaths credit for persistence in the face of logic and evidence though. I guess that comes easy when you worship yourself.

    If you were as dishonest, evasive, stupid and incompetent in law as in your post, you’d have no licence or clients. Tell us about spitting at yourself.

  403. @Polly: You continue arguing about words rather than concepts.

    Because there is no agreement on what a “concept” even is; since you redefine words to mean whatever you want them to mean at the moment.

    I do not read Rand, you waste your time quoting her. Once was enough hilarity, her joke of a “philoosphy” doesn’t play well when the punch lines are already known.

    Rand’s only principle was selfishness at all costs, to value herself no matter what the outcome or fallout to anybody else, which is inherently predatory. But of course, she had to pretend that utter, ruthless, psychopathic selfishness would somehow magically lead to the greater good, because otherwise, she knew, everybody would reject it.

    Thus her need to redefine the meanings of words, to perpetrate her fraud of justification, and thus my need to point out to her victims the foolishness of accepting her definitions, and the obvious stupidity of adhering to a philosophy that falls apart without them.

  404. Zombie,
    >your abstraction is not Newton

    Newton’s profound discoveries resulted from Bacon’s reintroduction of Aristotle’s discovery of concepts, abstracted from observation. Primitive man goes directly from observation to arbitrary hypothesis because they are ignorant of concepts and logic. Contemporary science evades the knowledge of concepts for arbitrary description that yields only, as Rand said, “probabilities of the unknowable.” Man’s life depends on conceptualizing perception because man has no innate ideas. Man must abstract from perception and then integrate the abstractions into concepts. Animals perceive concretes as this concrete here and now. Man perceives concretes as units of a class, a class that integrates all basically similar units throughout the universe, bringing the entire universe within man’s knowledge and control.
    “Tree” means all trees, past, present, and future, allowing man to apply his knowledge of the trees he immediately perceives to all trees everywhere. Thus universal gravity and laws of motion. Pattern probability provides no conceptualized grasp of concretes and no more prediction than using one’s birthday for selecting lottery ticket numbers. Further, there is a profound difference betwen perceptual models and conceptual models. Probability can be valid as an aid to conceptualizing large amounts of data. Eg, insurance, aiding doctors make immediate decisions. But its not a substitute for conceptualizing.

    >[O]bjectivists…untestable claims.

    “When a savage who has not learned to speak declares that existence must be proved, he is asking you to prove it by means of non-existence—when he declares that your consciousness must be proved, he is asking you to prove it by means of unconsciousness—he is asking you to step into a void outside of existence and consciousness to give him proof of both—he is asking you to become a zero gaining knowledge about a zero.”
    Rand

  405. @Polly: Newton’s profound discoveries resulted from …

    No they didn’t.

    I repeat: I do not read Rand. But I understand you cannot formulate any thought of your own, so when confronted with reason you have to resort to saying your Aynish prayers. It is pathetic whimpering display of your fear of reality and being exposed for the fraud you are.

  406. Zombie,
    > Because there is no agreement on what a “concept” even is;
    ——–
    “As a defense against the Witch-doctory of Hegel, who claimed universal omniscience, the scientist was offered the combined neo-mystic Witch-doctory and Attila-ism of the Logical Positivists. They assured him that such concepts as metaphysics or existence or reality or thing or matter or mind are meaningless—let the mystics care whether they exist or not, a scientist does not have to know it; the task of theoretical science is the manipulation of symbols, and scientists are the special elite whose symbols have the magic power of making reality conform to their will (“matter is that which fits mathematical equations”). Knowledge, they said, consists, not of facts, but of words, words unrelated to objects, words of an arbitrary social convention, as an irreducible primary; thus knowledge is merely a matter of manipulating language. The job of scientists, they said, is not the study of reality, but the creation of arbitrary constructs by means of arbitrary sounds, and any construct is as valid as another, since the criterion of validity is only “convenience” and the definition of science is “that which the scientists do.” But this omnipotent power, surpassing the dreams of ancient numerologists or of medieval alchemists, was granted to the scientist by philosophical Attila-ism on two conditions: a. that he never claim certainty for his knowledge, since certainty is unknown to man, and that he claim, instead, “percentages of probability,” not troubling himself with such questions as how one calculates percentages of the unknowable; b. that he claim as absolute knowledge the proposition that all values lie outside the sphere of science, that reason is impotent to deal with morality, that moral values are a matter of subjective choice, dictated by one’s feelings, not one’s mind.”
    Rand
    ———

  407. Zombie
    >Rand’s only principle was selfishness at all costs

    Ive repeatedly said that Rand rejects conventional, predatory pseudo-selfishness for rational selfishness limited by absolute moral values and virtues. She repeats this throughout her fiction and philosophy. What rationalization do you use for evading this?

    >she had to pretend that utter, ruthless, psychopathic selfishness would somehow magically lead to the greater good

    You have condemned Rand for rejecting and now accepting the alleged greater good. The first sacrifice of altruism is one’s independent mind. As psychologist, can you describe the experience of begging social approval
    to focus your mind onto reality? When society disapproves and you feel an
    obligation to keep your mind unfocused, do you feel an inward rage at your willing violation of your own mind, perhaps a sneaking admiration of school shooters, maybe a guilty peek at gun magazines, just to see, maybe, if someday, you had the will to take revenge against society’s arbitrary demands? Or is your work as psychologist revenge enough?

  408. Zombie
    @Polly: Newton’s profound discoveries resulted from …

    >No they didn’t.

    Yes, they did. Hey, that’s liberating, making arbitrary claims freed from the felt need for evidence. 2+2=5! Wow! I feel a surge of power. You must constantly feel that. I’m jealous. I just cant seem to summon the will to not conceptually induce all ideas from perceived concretes. Can you describe your experience of this? Maybe submit an article to a journal?

  409. @Polly: No, they didn’t.

    Newton’s discoveries resulted from building models that could predict behavior; from asking questions about his results. For example, a prism split a sunbeam into a rainbow of light. What would happen if he isolated just the part he considered “blue” by masking the other colors with a paper shield, and sent that “blue” part through a second prism? Would it split again? It did not. And by experiment, he discovered that no individual color would split again; and this helped Newton develop a model for light that, while incorrect, was “closer to the truth” in the sense that it was more predictive of the behavior of light than previous models.

    This has nothing to do with Aristotle or your bullshit Rand definition of “concepts” or “concretes,” or other made up words with purposely vague definitions that let them fit anything, this is about a constrictive, computable, predictive and simplifying model of what to expect with light. He did a similar thing with gravity, and other elements of physics. None of which explained everything there was to explain and all of which was just “closer to the truth” than what had gone before; that is why there was room for Einstein to overturn Newtonian physics and get even closer to the truth than Newton had (but still not THE truth that succeeds in explaining everything).

    I am surprised you feel liberated, Polly, all you DO is make arbitrary claims freed from any need for evidence, proof, or predictive power of any kind. See, that is one hallmark of a religion instead of a science: When your belief doesn’t predict anything. Those that believe God has a plan do not have any idea what that plan may be, if that plan will cause their child to be raped and tortured to death, or grow up to rape and torture somebody else’s child. Those things happen, God knew they were going to happen and had the power to do something about them but did not, therefore they must be part of God’s plan. Thus the plan is not predictive, God’s protection is not predictive, prayers can go unanswered and therefore they are not predictive. They just have the appearance of being predictive and therefore comfort people, due to various defects in our evolutionary psychology, like confirmation bias and post-rationalization.

    But that is where you are with your new religion. Using Rand’s philosophy only comforts you, it does not help you succeed or see where you have gone wrong. It is just your pathetic religion; something useful to redirect the blame for your failures in life, off of you and onto others.

  410. Grossman,

    Aww. Did I offend your ego-worshipping lil’ self?

    Good.

    If the egoistic sociopath fits, wear it. The Aynish fall into two broad categories: those who share her mental illness (which to be clear is anti-social personality disorder commonly known as sociopathy as defined by both the DSM and the WHO diagnostic criteria) and those with the intellectual and/or emotional maturity of a malcontent teenager. If that presents a problem for you, I suggest changing from your chosen pseudo-philosophy and into something more adult that recognizes that others and society both exist and possess value beyond your ability to exploit them for your own pleasure.

  411. Bloody, Degrading Sacrifice,
    >Did I offend your ego-worshipping lil’ self?

    Said the Nazi death camp guard to the prisoner who asked not to be tortured.

    >others and society both exist and possess value beyond your ability to exploit them for your own pleasure.

    Value to whom?

  412. @Polly: Society has value to all of us, which includes you. We do not require you to recognize that or agree with that for it to be true, just as we do not require you to believe that the world is round or that light has a finite speed.

    Reality does not require your permission, Polly. Society has value to us, which means we believe it extends our life, reduces our hardships and grief, and makes us more productive and more likely to accomplish our goals, less likely to be exploited, enslaved, robbed, raped, poisoned, sickened, or murdered.

    We believe it helps us get what we want through synergy; we believe that a thousand people working together can build something that a thousand people working individually could never accomplish.

    You are free to disengage at any time. There are plenty of lawless places in the world where you can hunt and gather to feed yourself, defend yourself, and live out your life without our help and without using our resources or infrastructure. Your refusal to disengage only proves that you, too, find value in our society, and free infrastructure, and free police protection and military protection and free education, all while denying that this society exists.

    That’s fine; you are like a four year old child and we cannot correct that. Four year olds insist they know everything when they know next to nothing; they insist they need nobody while having no idea that the clothes they wear, food they eat, and shelter and safety they enjoy were paid for by the very parents they accuse of oppressing them. You have much in common, Polly, denying the safety and productivity that society gave you for free as being worthless. If you were a four year old we would find the depth of your ignorance amusing, but as a presumptive adult we find your continued lack of comprehension just sad.

  413. Zombie,
    >Society has value to us, which means we believe it extends our life

    “Us,” distributively or collectively?

    “Man gains enormous values from dealing with other men; living in a human society is his proper way of life—but only on certain conditions. Man is not a lone wolf and he is not a social animal. He is a contractual animal. He has to plan his life long-range, make his own choices, and deal with other men by voluntary agreement (and he has to be able to rely on their observance of the agreements they entered).” Rand

    “The social theory of ethics substitutes “society” for God—and although it claims that its chief concern is life on earth, it is not the life of man, not the life of an individual, but the life of a disembodied entity, the collective, which, in relation to every individual, consists of everybody except himself. As far as the individual is concerned, his ethical duty is to be the selfless, voiceless, rightless slave of any need, claim or demand asserted by others. The motto “dog eat dog”—which is not applicable to capitalism nor to dogs—is applicable to the social theory of ethics. The existential monuments to this theory are Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.” Rand

  414. Turley’s Motto
    >The thing itself speaks

    The thing speaks to an active mind, logically focused, with its knowledge, onto the thing. The thing is silent to an unfocused mind, otherwise babies and psychotics could be lawyers.

  415. @Polly: You waste your time quoting Rand. Man is indeed a social animal.

    As to your other infantile gibberish; “The thing speaks …”

    No, it doesn’t. Only living things speak, inanimate things do not speak. At best they play back recordings of speech; or simulate speech, but only minds produce true speech.

    Anybody that believes inanimate things speak to them is delusional and hearing voices in their head, they are falsely attributing externality to internally generated mental events.

    Further, all the rest of your qualifiers are vague gibberish as well, an “active mind,” “logically focused,” “with its knowledge.” What a load of feel-good crap. Anybody that is not in a coma has an active mind. There is no such thing as “logically focused.” And finally, no particular “knowledge” is necessary for a mind to operate and discern patterns and invent and test rules; infants are born without any particular knowledge and without any help or instruction develop the basic rules of physics de novo. In fact they do that so well on their own that they can eventually learn language from scratch without ANY internal language employed to teach them, that language acquisition lets them take instruction, and then babies can become lawyers.

    You produce one pathetic load of illogical crap after another, Polly.

  416. “Bloody, Degrading Sacrifice,
    >Did I offend your ego-worshipping lil’ self?

    Said the Nazi death camp guard to the prisoner who asked not to be tortured.”

    Said the Nazi death camp guard who tortured them anyway.

    “>others and society both exist and possess value beyond your ability to exploit them for your own pleasure.

    Value to whom?”

    Spoken like a true exploiter of others. People and society have intrinsic value. You, of course, cannot see that because like all Aynish you think the universe revolves around you and you alone. Like a good lil’ sociopath.

  417. one must ask, what kind of society has value. Certainly German society circa 1933-1945 had no intrinsic value. Why did German society during that time in history not have value? The most obvious answer is because they did not respect the right of certain people to exist.

    We can also ask ourselves the same question about communist society crica 1917-1990 and we can answer that the individual was subservient to the state.

    If we look at all societies which have little or no intrinsic value, we find the one missing element is regard for the individual.

    I am rather perplexed as to how society can have instrinsic value if the individual does not. The German State circa 1933-1945 did not recognize the right of the individual to exist except as needed by the state. Every part of human existence was directed toward the continuation of the state. And so it is with other states which have little regard for the individual.

    Society, is after all, nothing more than a collection of individuals. What is good for one individual is good for all. Liberty, self determination, the right to exist, the right to property are good for all individuals. The more free the state the better it is for the individual’s life.

    We enter into society to protect our rights in a more efficient manner, we do not enter into society to give up rights. The only right we should be giving up by entering into society is the right to punish people who have violated our rights. That is why we have a court system, police and a national defense force.

    Rand was very much for individual rights, all individuals had value as rational beings. Individuals, to her, had immense intrinsic value.

    I am really curious as to why people think a person who believed in the sanctity of an individual human being and their metaphysical right to exist for their own sake would consider that person a sociopath?

    We are only somewhat free?

  418. “I am rather perplexed as to how society can have instrinsic value if the individual does not.”

    You pose the same old false dichotomy, Bron.

    It’s not an either or proposition. Both have value.

  419. Gene:

    Yes, they both have value, the individual has a natural right to exist, the state has a duty to protect the individual. When it does, the state has intrinsic value.

  420. @Bron: the state has a duty to protect the individual.

    Yes they do. However, there is no way to protect one individual against a mob of individuals that could overwhelm him, unless a larger mob of individuals has the duty to protect him. That is just the physics of the real world, that an overwhelming force exists for all individuals. Taken to its logical extension, the majority of individuals must be obligated to protect each person; and the only way that can be fair and reliable is if the arrangement is reciprocal, and the only way to prevent free riders from enjoying protection without providing any is to make participation mandatory for the majority, with any exceptions (like children, the mentally disabled, the elderly) declared only by the majority.

    Simply claiming the state has a duty to protect is only the first step; once we recognize that duty we must then recognize that protection, in a practical sense, requires time, money, and entails the risk of lethal retaliation. We must recognize that the state has a duty to protect all people equally, including children, disabled and feeble, including the rich and poor alike.

    Perhaps the most difficult thing for shallow thinkers to handle is recognizing that protection is 99% a process of deterrence through the threat of punishment, so unlike most other products the benefit is 99% invisible, because it lies in the horrors that didn’t happen; the bombs that did not go off, the rapes and robberies and murders and burglaries and frauds that never occurred.

    Insurance is a product with some similarities, in the sense that you pay a premium to cover losses that, while unlikely, would be financially catastrophic if they happened. But Insurance isn’t the same thing as protection, because insuring a property (or life) is a passive transaction, while protection is an active one. Insuring my house against fire does not reduce the chance of a fire occurring. But paying taxes to have criminals pursued and incarcerated does reduce my chances of being victimized by those criminals; left to go free they would surely commit far more crimes.

  421. tony c:

    actually, most people are not Initiators of force. What most people dont understand is that property is one of the things our government was created to protect.

    Insurance does not protect your property from people who will take it away from you.

  422. @Bron: most people are not Initiators of force.

    That is generally true, at least now, because there is a public and credible threat of punishment for initiation of force.

    But even if that were true without law, it means the opposite of what you think it means. Most people is not all people, and when 95% of people are not inclined to use force but five percent are, the five percent will enslave the 95% using force.

    That has been true for hundreds of thousands of years, Bron, it is how alpha male chimps rule their tribes, it is how we came to have words for kings, dictators, emperors, warlords and supreme rulers. A strong man gathers strong men around him and they summarily kill anybody that gets in their way or refuses to obey.

    In the vast majority of cases, the elite ruling class is a very small percentage of the whole population, because, as you say, most people will not initiate a forceful confrontation, especially against a well-armed, brutal and ruthlessly subjugating force.

    Society is not necessary to protect us against “most” people, it is necessary to protect us against the 15% or so that would engage in various crimes (including those requiring force) if they were not threatened by a legal system of cops, investigators, courts and prisons. Burglars, muggers, bank robbers, rapists, kidnappers and serial killers already run all the risks of personal confrontation with victims that are entitled to respond with lethal force. They are a small percentage of the population, but without the legal system as a deterrent against their predations there would be far more of them and their crimes would be rampant.

    I think that is obvious; a man capable of murder is not restrained from murder by his victim, his victim is dead. If he is restrained from murder it is by the threat of retaliation posed by society and their obligation to investigate and punish murders.

  423. tony c:

    “Most people is not all people, and when 95% of people are not inclined to use force but five percent are, the five percent will enslave the 95% using force.”

    thats right and that is what government is for.

  424. @Bron: The point of the post was not to state the obvious; the point of the post was to provide the justification for the necessity of both taxations and other mandatory obligations to one’s society.

  425. TONY C:

    some small amount of funding for government is necessary. The argument is over how much is absolutely necessary and how it should be collected.