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BS: Living on the Galt lines...

Thomas the Rhymer 02 Jan 07 - 02:44 PM
Paul from Hull 02 Jan 07 - 03:06 PM
dick greenhaus 02 Jan 07 - 04:07 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 02 Jan 07 - 07:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 07 - 06:16 PM
Don Firth 03 Jan 07 - 06:38 PM
Don Firth 03 Jan 07 - 06:45 PM
SINSULL 03 Jan 07 - 10:27 PM
Don Firth 03 Jan 07 - 11:36 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 04 Jan 07 - 02:06 AM
autolycus 04 Jan 07 - 02:47 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 04 Jan 07 - 10:30 AM
autolycus 04 Jan 07 - 06:42 PM
Midchuck 04 Jan 07 - 07:28 PM
Don Firth 04 Jan 07 - 09:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jan 07 - 05:44 PM
Don Firth 05 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM
autolycus 06 Jan 07 - 01:33 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 07 Jan 07 - 03:35 AM
autolycus 07 Jan 07 - 12:10 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 07 Jan 07 - 03:47 PM
autolycus 07 Jan 07 - 05:20 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 07 Jan 07 - 06:03 PM

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Subject: BS: Living on the Galt line...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 02:44 PM

So... "Who was John Galt?"

Amoung many things, he was a fugitive from the dysfunctional Soviet system... and, he was certainly no stranger to the realities that accompanied a half baked Socialist ideology... When the 'light of day' was upon them...

And, though he failed to see the awesome splendor and Power of sincerely held Faith... I think he saw clearly how a capitalist based military-industrial complex was vulnerable to corruption also.

"The only proper purpose of a Government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force 'only' against those who 'start' the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foriegn invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud from others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to 'objective' law. But a government that 'initiates' the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmre infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man's deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his.
                                                                     - John Galt

(Atlas Shrugged, Centenial Edition, Signet... page 973. Copywright, Ayn Rand, 1957)
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Paul from Hull
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 03:06 PM

Wow. Very true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 04:07 PM

Sure. Let 'em starve. And die of disease.


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 07:11 PM

Good point dick greenhouse...

It is easy to find discrepancies within Ayn Rand's philosophy... and yet, I find all such discussions to be ultimately meaningful. I have found it difficult, however, to legitimize an all encompassing relevance to any work of fiction... especially when the author has a rather specific adjenda... as Rand, it seems to me, has. As she chooses almost exclusively to disparage the mismanagement of big business by big government, I don't mind the obvious shortcommings of her philosophy when it comes to society as a whole...

To do so is to run the risk of taking her meaning out of context.
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 06:16 PM

"...to protect you from criminals..."

Criminals are people who break the law. Including any laws that might be made to protect people against oppressive business practices.


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 06:38 PM

Way back, I was really into the writings of Ayn Rand. She pointed up a lot of the demands that society makes on individuals that really are a bit over the top and said that "selfishness" is not necessarily a dirty word. She had a point. After all, if you don't take care of yourself first (i.e., make sure that your own needs are met), then how are you going to be able to contribute to society rather than take from it? If you feel that friends or family or society in general are making unreasonable demands on you, you need to assert yourself for the sake of your own preservation. And her brief for artistic integrity (one of a number of things she articulated in The Fountainhead)—staying true to your own vision rather than catering to the whims and pressures of fashion and "trendiness"—and being willing to stand or fall on that, I agree with wholeheartedly. In fact, fulfilling yourself by insisting that you be allowed to do the best work you can do, is your finest contribution to society.

I'm good with that. In fact, I encountered her writings at a time in my life when I needed to determine my own goals rather than what others thought I should do, and decide how I should best go about achieving those goals. I needed to hear what she was saying.

But unfortunately, where Ayn Rand goes from there—delving into the realms of economics and politics—reflects a certain painfully naïve idealism on her part. Despite her fierce advocacy of acknowledging the nature of reality and of thinking rationally rather than simply going on emotions, the world is simply not the way she saw it. Hank Readon, a person of impeccable honesty and integrity, was a fictional character, as were her other ideal heroes. Viewing her own fictional heroes as real models, she trusted in the honesty and integrity of the vast majority of businessmen. And in the corporate world, there are, indeed, some genuinely honest businessmen. But sad to say, they seem to be in the minority. You just don't find very many Hank Reardons out there. The melancholy fact is that for every Hank Reardon, you find a couple of hundred Kenneth Lays.

In one of her books, Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal, she fiercely advocates unbridled capitalism as the perfect economic system. She claims that it's never really been tried. Well, I'm sorry, but that's not true. That was the system that led to starvation wages, child labor, company towns, company stores—a sort of modern-day feudal system—the abuses of which led, in turn, to the emergence of the labor movement as a reaction to those abuses. And capitalism's reactions to the labor movement were things like the Ludlow massacre and the Everett massacre. And lack of oversight and regulation led to the Great Depression. Had it not been for the "socialist" reforms and regulations instituted by FDR (hated and reviled by capitalists and conservatives), and the reining in of the capitalist orgy of greed that was destroying the country, we could very well have had a communist revolution here, not unlike the one that spawned the Soviet Union.

Yes, unregulated capitalism was tried, and it failed.

This is not to say that capitalism should be abandoned entirely. The profit motive that drives it is an excellent stimulus for the development of new products and services that (one hopes) improve all our lives. It has a great deal going for it. But—it needs to be controlled and regulated for reasons far too numerous to go into here, and which you all know:   first, the prevention of the abuses of former eras, then decent living wages and benefits, safe and healthy work environments being paramount among them.

Where Ayn Rand really blew it with me was when she started trashing the environmental movement, especially the movement's criticism of industrial pollution. She said that, rather than criticizing and calling for laws and regulations, the tree-hugging eco-freaks should get down on their knees and give thanks for the dirtiest smoke-stacks they can find for the benefits that modern industry has given them.

Interesting woman. She saw what she wanted to see. And she refused to see what she didn't want to see. Unfortunately, she was not the best example of her own philosophy, Objectivism.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 06:45 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: SINSULL
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 10:27 PM

Don,
You forgot to mention her criticism of folk music. Something about the stupidity of people who equate the lowest folk song to the greatest symphony. Now I will have to look it up.

I too learned the value of selfishness from Rand and developed a healthy respect for honest men there too. She was a fascinating woman, cranky as all get out, and absolutely sure of the correctness of all she believed.

She demanded that each of us be the best that we could be. How insidious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 11:36 PM

When I encountered things like her comment about folk music, I just put at down as one of her areas of ignorance. The problem was that, over time, reading a lot of her non-fiction, I kept running into more examples of how many areas of ignorance she actually had. And then she would make all kinds of self-assured pronouncements in those areas, frequently blowing off things she didn't know anything about.

Then I read some comments by people in her "inner circle" who agreed with her that one should examine things and use one's own judgment, not just accept something because someone says so.   But they tended to chafe a bit because, if someone questioned something she said, she could get real nasty.

Fascinating person indeed!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 02:06 AM

Perspective. Something I didn't have much of when I read Ayn Rand some 25 years ago... in the midst of my very own 'Rand phase'. Then, I loved her taut expresions and her vivid metaphors... her passionate distaste for corruption and backsliding... her shameless avowal of the heroic in man. Industry, invention, and heartily creative hard work... against all odds... with only integrity, ingenuity, and belief in one's own pain stakingly gathered convictions to give each of us the footing we need in order to climb away from the slippery slope that descends into the valley of mediocracy... to be a positive example, and to bring hope, perhaps life giving inspiration... to people we may never know.

Then... I found that people all around me we 'down' on her. Talk about nasty... and I succumbed to their fortuitous nay saying, for no better reason than I wanted them to like me... which, I'm sorry to say in retrospect, amounted to little more than sharing cynical platitudes and formulating vague visions of self righteous social upheaval... all for the best, so I was told. I shelved her books for a couple of decades, thinking about how hypocritical she often was.

Now, I once again have enjoyed "Atlas Shrugged", and for very different reasons. I have no compunction to 'take on' her whole world view, because I see her as a product of her times... so glad was she to get out of the saturated and frigid incompetance behind the 'Iron Curtain"... that she saw 'with new eyes' the freedoms that so many here had taken for granted, to the point of indifference and thuggery. So she offered a 'wake up call' born of her escape from the perdition of soviet totalitarianism, and shouted from our very own rooftops... freedom is valuable, and it must be earned, maintained, and taken care of. It begins with yourself, but it reaches many, and it teaches by example... All of us have that 'something special'... and anyone who would hinder it's development, is an enemy to freedom... and no better than a common thug. We bring out the best in others, by being the best we can be.

The book reads beautifully in the context of the USA today, because... well... ummm... try it and see for yourself!
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: autolycus
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 02:47 AM

Wonder what she would have made of running out of oil, destruction of rainforests. global warming/climate change, the sudden outbreak of millionaires and grinding poverty in the newly-capitalistic Russia and China?

   Is it me or is it conservatives who are more likely to turn nasty when 'criticised', more likely to perceive criticism as an attack rather than as the next stage in a discussion?




Happy New Year

       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 10:30 AM

Would you care to elaborate, autolycus? The contentiousness is only skin deep, yet it seems to conceal your true thoughts.
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: autolycus
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 06:42 PM

It's my impression that the conservatively-minded are sensitive to criticism, explicit or implicit.And that they are more likely to take offence even where none is intended, perhaps because they see the world more in terms of danger and of attack. That they smell anything which might be different from them more quickly than others, and from a greater distance from them. That they might even seek out difference/opposition and wish to fight it. That they are quicker to lose their cool, readier to take offence. maybe even more likely to ignore points of agreement from opponents (nothing to fight about.)

Only my impression.






       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 07:28 PM

autolycus, I think you're perfectly right. Thing is, if you said the same thing about conventional modern liberals, you'd be equally right, IMO.

The concepts of "conservativism" and "liberalism" have led to the belief that if a person takes the conservative position on one issue and the liberal position on the next, he's considered a traitor to both sides, rather than simply as a person who prefers to define his own opinions.

booger the lot, says I.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 09:57 PM

Despite what the knee-jerk Rand-haters say, Ayn Rand's writings, both fiction and non-fiction, are well worth reading. Although her advocates consider her to be the most important philosopher since Aristotle, she is looked down on by serious, academically based philosophers. Nevertheless, her Metaphysics and her Epistemology are excellent. Exceptional! She leaps over a whole battalion of wishy-washy philosophers, like Berkeley and his ilk (many of his epistemological premises lead one straight to solipsism), and states her case with formal logical argument that's as solid as a rock. [Now, before someone says, "Oh, Puh-LEEZE!" you'd better be able to present your refutation with logic as formal and rigorous as that which she uses.]

It's when she gets into Ethics, and especially Politics (the practical application of ethical principles on a social, governmental level) that she starts coming unglued. She does say a lot of good things, and because of that, I bought it all at first, but it soon became apparent that living as she did in her thirtieth floor condominium in New York City and hosting her weekly discussion sessions there, but rarely actually going out, she seemed to lose touch with what was going on in the real world. It turned out that her political views in particular were formed a priori. Her arguements were well-reasoned, so they sounded good, but they were not supported by the way things actually work in the real world. When it came to politics and economics, she talked a lot of twaddle, even if she did so with firmness and conviction.

I found her put-down of folk music particularly interesting especially in the light of that fact that, when it came to classical music, there wasn't much she did like. She was mostly into musical comedy, which is pretty light-weight stuff. She once asserted (with firmness and conviction, as usual) that composer Paul Hindemuth was a ghastly composer who as a total ignoramus about music. I found this rather remarkable, considering that one of the texts we used in music theory classes at the University of Washington School of Music was written by Paul Hindemuth. Another of her areas of ignorance.

I think that once she became a well-known novelist with a cadre of hard-charging fans, she started believing her own hype. She kept urging people to "check your premises" (make sure you're reasoning from a solid base), but she began failing to follow her own advice.

But still. Worth reading. Especially her fiction. And her Basic Principles of Objectivist Epistemology, although it is kind of heavy going.

Don Firth

P. S. Incidentally, as far as "liberals" and "conservatives" are concerned, she did not regard herself as either. With her, it was "A pox on both your houses!" I think if she were alive today, she'd be roasting Bush's ass to a cinder. And she could eat someone like Ann Coulter as a light snack.


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 05:44 PM

Pedants corner: Criticising Berkeley on the grounds that "many of his epistemological premises lead one straight to solipsism" is a bit like criticising Darwin on the grounds that his premises lead one straight to evolution.

What I mean is, solipsism is what his whole philosophical argument is about, it's not an unintended by product.

"Check your premises" - sounds like the kind of advice they have in Crime Prevention leaflets. "Make sure there are sound locks on all doors and windows..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 08:55 PM

Berkeley's epistemological position held that one can never know the nature of the external world because one can never be certain of one's own perceptions. The metaphysical implication of that is that the external world may not even exist—that, in fact, nothing exists outside one's own perceptions. Solipsism. I'm not too sure that the good bishop fully realized that. But he must have had a faint glimmer of the implication, because he had to posit God to keep existence together. Essentially what he wound up saying was that what we call Reality is a dream in the mind of God. Very Eastern. And I'm sure he didn't realize that.

And the "Check you premises" thing. Some wag was once heard to say, "Ms. Rand, should I get my flashlight first?" I think she responded with some comment like, "We are not amused!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: autolycus
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 01:33 PM

Those are my thoughts,Thomas.

   What are yours about that?






       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 03:35 AM

Well, autolycus, I'm more or less ambivalent concerning who is more touchy about criticism... liberals or conservatives. I don't believe in criticism, and we're all doing far too much of it. From my way of being, I find it too distracting, and as such it tends to highlight incidental peripheral issues that initially may have little to do with core values... or personal accomplishments. People from all walks of life seem to find solace in criticising others these days... and very few of us do it constructively. All too often, as a 'knee jerk' expression, criticism seems like a cowards tool... an excuse to not be fully present and caring... and expresses a desire to be superior without sharing the underlying comradery that true superiority relishes.


If you are talking about self-criticism... who can know? Do conservatives learn from their mistakes better than liberals? Do liberals have a decided advantage when it comes to rigorous self-appraisal? Probably not, in either case.

You could, perhaps, say with equal vehemence... that conservatives are doers, and liberals are dreamers. And though it is often the case that doers 'do' things wrong, and that dreams 'can' come true... criticism seldom changes anything. It either distracts or distances the 'doer', and it gives the criticiser a false sense of accomplishment. What gets people's attention is irrelevant... it is all about what people 'do' with their attention.

"Judgement and comparison lead us irrevocably to duality". -Krishnamurti

I personally learn best by the positive examples of others, and by the possibility of being able to admit I was wrong without abusive emotional retribution... And I'll be willing to bet that you do too.
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: autolycus
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 12:10 PM

Thanks for your thoughtful response,Thomas. I agree with much that you say.

As my therapy trainer once said,"What's the point of judging people?"

I also learn a lot from realising that I have made a choice anjd that I can make choices, as distinct from believing there was no alternative. And I learn from from chewing over what's happened and from developing awareness.

A difficulty around criticism is when someone perceives a comment as a criticism where there was no criticism.

Bit like the joke of the mother who gives her son two shirts. He takes them upstairs, looks at them, puts one on, comes down,. and is greeted with his mother's,"So what's wrong with the other one?"

So people of the appropriate psycjhology can set others up so as to induce an apparent criticism.


Oh, and nice to meet you,Thomas. I think this is the first exchange we've had.






       Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 03:47 PM

Howdy! Maybe she considered the 'other one' to be obviously 'for the occasion'...

As far as 'inducing apparent criticism' is concerned... maybe yes, and... maybe no. In the example you site, autolycus, she gives him two shirts, and he can't wear them both... so he's in a 'no win' situation... and she's 'set it up'.

Looks to me as if she may be being 'set up'... and then is criticised in the form of a joke. Humor can be such an insidious weapon. So... she gives him two shirts... one is a dress shirt, and the other is a Metalica T-shirt... hard for her to buy in the first place, and not exactly appropriate at the family christmas dinner...

In this case, the omission of the mother's feelings have been effective... and she takes 'the blame'... and... everyone laughs at her too.

seewhatimean?

BTW... what the heck is a 'therapy trainer'?
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: autolycus
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 05:20 PM

I see what you mean tho' you may be overcomplicating things. Without the shirts being distinguished,I think the point may be she's setting up the situation so as to fweel put out/feelings hurt whatever.

I agree humour can be insidious.Insofar as it's a joke,it may be constructed by a hard-done-by son to get his own back on mum. On the other hand, people do these things. There's a bloke at work who, when the football World Cup was on, asked me "who do you think will win?"

I said,"Brazil" and he then said,"You're not very patriotic."

A day later he asked a chap from Ecuador who he thought would win and the man said,"Ecuador". Our questioner responded,"You're living in a fool's paradise."

people do that sort of thing.


My therapy trainer taught the therapy course I took to become a Gestalt therapist. We tend to call them trainers rather than teachers.





poor Ayn Rand.






      ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Living on the Galt lines...
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 06:03 PM

Thanks for all the fun, autolycus!
ttr


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