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Ayn Rand
Posted by: Dale Franks on Saturday, September 22, 2007

Recently, Bruce noted the 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". Apropos of that, here is a 1980 interview with Ayn Rand, in five parts, from the Donohue show.

I'm also curious about how many of our readers are familiar with Rand, and what they think about her philosophy.

 
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Dale:

You might want to segregate those who respond into those who’ve read and understand the majority of her non-fiction work and those who haven’t, and don’t, and nonetheless believe themselves qualified to offer an opinion.

I’ve read and studied it all. From 1990 - 1992, it was my primary activity. In a word, it’s groundbreaking. It’s not that most of her ideas were new (some of the epistemology is claimed to be new, but that’s disputed, and I don’t know), it’s the integration.

It’s not to say I don’t have issues. As far as I’m concerned, her philosophy implies anarchism if the principles are taken honestly and consistently. I’m certainly an anarchist.

All that said, I do not believe that her works will in any way spark a real political movement or explicitly form the basis of a more rational, free, individualist world. If that happens, it will come from something totally new and out of the blue that no one sees coming.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
I found Ayn Rand’s philosophy worthy of consideration, and some of it suitable for including in my world view. Too bad Objectivism is a theory of everything that doesn’t allow for such a half-hearted approach.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
I found much of objectivism worth considering except for the anti religious part. Our government is the opposite of objectivism in that it rewards destructive behavior and penalizes constructive behavior, sort of like communism.
 
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
I found much of objectivism worth considering except for the anti religious part.
I know what you mean. In college, I took a minor course of study in mathematics. I found it quite worthwhile, save for the objectivity of it.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
any of you play "Bioshock"? Its a game tied intoRandian philosophy, the main villain is named andrew ryan and a main character called atlas, but i wont go into story details for fear of spoilers. Basically its the designers take on a possible ayn randian dystopia. its prolly pretty shallow with regards to how it interprets the source material of rand, but the story and game play are decent. I haven’t read much of her, im still trying to get into atlas shrugged, im interested in getting her non fiction though, i will likely enjoy it much more. From what little i know i like some of her ideas, but definitely not the full compliment of what iv read. But speaking of dystopia’s, i believe in our current political and social climate, the dystopia in the mind of Huxley to be the most likely, not sure why "A brave new world" doesn’t get the same amount of looks as 1984.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
I have not yet read any Ayn Rand. In my previous town the public library’s copies of her work were all "overdue, presumed lost". In my new town, where I have lived for 2 years, the public library didn’t have any Rand and wasn’t likely to get it (they carry mostly current popular fiction). Now that I’m working for a college that actually has Rand’s novels on the shelves at its library, I’ve got one waiting for me right now at the circulation desk. I’d have bought one, but the government was taking all of my extra money for taxes. :)
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
Actually unfamiliar with her writings. Pure cussedness, I suppose, but so many people ordered me to read The Fountainhead, that I avoided all her works at all costs.

One of those neuropathies that explains why I still haven’t seen Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.

Got the gist and Cliff-Note-y bits through osmosis, and recognize that there is no good reason not to read/watch, but just can’t bring myself to be assimilated. From what I understand, there is good meat there, relatively devoid of academic-ese obfuscation.

Maybe for New Year’s.
 
Written By: Uncle Pinky
URL: http://
Josh B, regarding your question about "Brave New World": I think it doesn’t get as much attention in academia because it doesn’t appeal to liberals. Most liberals view free legalized drugs, gratuitous sex, and the dissolution of the traditional family as GOOD things, and to have them turned around and portrayed in a negative light probably bothers them.

As for Ayn Rand: I’ve only read Atlas Shrugged (a few months ago) and I think her ideas are flawed but still brilliant. Again, if leftists weren’t so repulsed by her views I think her works would be taught in colleges opposite those of Karl Marx. Atlas Shrugged almost seems to me like a fictionalized "Capitalist Manifesto".
 
Written By: Matt
URL: http://
I figured I’d listen to the interview and comment on the content, since you were kind enough to post the interview.

A couple of things in the interview struck me
"If there is mal-distibution (of wealth) it’s to those that have political pull. If some of your money is made with government help, and government favoritism, then I grant that is unfair, and improper, and unjust, but if you made it yourself in free competition, enough people want to pay you for your services or product, then you should keep all of it, why shouldn’t you, you made it."
This relates to a discussion on another thread, where I facetiously described industries in America as capitalist. I have repeatedly asserted that we do not have a free market in America, and this is key, purported movement towards the laizzes faire is almost always cover for a government enmeshed industry to exploit the advantages they have bought and paid for. Once you realize that the vast majority of our economy is so deeply enmeshed in government as to be considered a part of government, you might see that when a so-called liberal is arguing against corporate dominance, they ARE not arguing for a larger more instrusive government, but rather a government that at least has some modicom control over what is ostensibly itself. It is, like Rand says, similar to the church and state argument, you don’t want the church controlling the state, because then the church would be the state. Well, when businesses control the state, the state becomes the businesses.

This is where Objectivism, and libertarianism seem to diverge from reality and enter Libertopia, with a failure to understand human nature, specifically, where people will ALWAYS go when seeking advantage. Theywill go where the power is, and if your Libertopia has a government that wields enough power to protect rights, it wields enough to infringe upon them. Advantage will eventually be sought unfairly, and in those cases, one of two outcomes will always happen.

1. The advantage seeker will gain unfair advantage through the entaglements with government, and the competitors will seek to leap frog towards greater advantege, with greater integration into government.

OR

2. The government will refuse to grant advantage. The problem is that the second senario, while it may occur, will only occur until it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t goback to point one and the objectivist of libertarian ideal is demolished.

Do you really think that the private corporations that run healthcare in America are separated enough from government to really be considered remotely free market?

Rand had this say about Iran...
"We own by contract right, the installation that we helped them to build. This we earned and they nationalized from us, they have no right to their soil if they do nothing with it. Rights are not involved in those primitive societies, But they made a deal with us, they want to bring us in to develop their oil, and then they tried to exploit and literally murder us by means of that oil. That is an unforgiveable crime."

"It isn’t (their oil), it was there for centuries and they didn’t know what do with it."
I know she is talking about how oil companies negotiated for rights to the oil contracts and under those contracts built their infrastructure, and I won’t underrate the significance of this aspect, but it’s quite a statement for her to say that the oil just did not belong to them because they didn’t do anything with it. The old government made contracts, the old (Shah) government was deposed, the new (Iranian Whackjob Revolutionary Lunatic) government threw out those contracts. Consider that Iraq will be reneging on all contracts made by the Hussein government and essentially re-nationalizing the oil industry. Her further comments on the lack of rights in these "primitive" societies was interesting for obvious reasons relating to our current difficulties. We are trying to get Iraq to embrace democracy, but really, without a solid respect of what classic liberals call inalienable rights, democracy can be as bad or worse than dictatorships. By the way, my neighbor has a ’69 Camaro, but it’s not really his because he doesn’t know what to do with it, so I’m thinking I’ll just take it.



On religion...

Her points were clear and don’t need to be repeated, and certainly her position on religion must be required as an adjunct to her positon on altruism. I’d be curious if there are people who agree with her on altrusim but disagree on the existence of God. I think that would be contradictory, unless perhaps they believed Ayn Rand IS God???


Overall, I find her philosophy satisfying, if applied to one’s own life, but cannot be applied as a political philosophy, unless you apply it by staying out of any political involvement whatsoever, except perhaps to overthrow the government or to throw some irrelevant tantrums while you stand outside looking in. An objectivist Congress would be a hoot, at least for a week so until abolished itself.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Brave New World vs 1984?

Look around you and you’ll see that we are FAR closer to BNW than we ever will be to 1984.

People know violent repression, and they don’t like it, so any regime based on such methods is doomed from the start.

But a tyranny of plenty, that’s insidious.

But hey, it’s fiction, it’s not like we are more interested in television shows and drugs and sex and half naked teenage icons than we are in reading books.

I was discrete enough not to provide a link to the obvious.


 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Look around you and you’ll see that we are FAR closer to BNW than we ever will be to 1984.
My point exactly, perhaps im too late, i shouldn’t be scared of becoming BNW, i should be looking for a way to get us out of it :)
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
To break it down along traditional philosophical lines, I tend to agree with her politics, epistimology, and metaphysics. That said, I disagree with her ethical teachings. Her work tends to suffer from the is/ought problem, but that’s a thread in itself. In the end, she is worthy of much more serious contemplation in philosophical circles than she receives, and is as flawed as any philosopher.

With all that, I thought Atlas Shrugged was a brilliant novel. The archetypes of liberals that she draws — the weak and parasitic brother, the brilliant professor hoping to re-organize society, the awesomely-named literary critic Balph Eubank (the character always struck me as particularly prophetic given the subsequent rise of postmodernism), the Soros-like internationalist — are so applicable in this world it is amazing. And looking at modern Zimbabwe or Venezuela, it is easy to imagine a future where Chicago really is lit by candlelight.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
There’s also a 3-part interview with Mike Wallace back in the 60s. I think she’s much more coherent in that set (quite a bit younger).

Part I
Part II
Part III

 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
By the way, my neighbor has a ’69 Camaro, but it’s not really his because he doesn’t know what to do with it, so I’m thinking I’ll just take it.

Yeah, that’s what she was saying, Cap.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
know what you mean. In college, I took a minor course of study in mathematics. I found it quite worthwhile, save for the objectivity of it.

So, Richard are you saying mathematics is a philosophy?
 
Written By: Rick
URL: http://
"I’d be curious if there are people who agree with her on altrusim but disagree on the existence of God."

Well I reckon that depends on which God you’re talking about. Christianity, problematic. Deism, not so much.

Then again, if there is a Christian God, it seems that your own self interest is pretty heavily invested with being altruistic.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
So, Richard are you saying mathematics is a philosophy?
Rejection of the supernatural is baked in the Randian / Objectivist cake; you can’t have it, and eat it, too.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Yeah, that’s what she was saying, Cap.
Okay, you’re the AtlasBlogger, what was she saying?
"It isn’t (their oil), it was there for centuries and they didn’t know what do with it."
Who’s was it for those centuries while they didn’t know what to do with it.

Oh, and by the way, it was there (and here) for eons, and no one knew what to do with it.

My take is that she diverged from her own philosophy out of societal prejudice.
Rights are not involved in those primitive societies
So why give those primates the benefit of that which they can’t understand?

Or, you can argue that she was referring only to the contracts.

But I’d love to hear your perspective.
Then again, if there is a Christian God, it seems that your own self interest is pretty heavily invested with being altruistic.
An unpleasant way of putting it, but right on the mark.

Altruism may not actually exist, at least it may be difficult to prove it does, since motivation can almost be found at some personal selfish level, even if it’s something as passe’ as it feeling good to do good.
Altruism, if it feels good, do it.
(turned that phrase on it’s head).

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"Too bad Objectivism is a theory of everything that doesn’t allow for such a half-hearted approach."

Or do you mean "half assed" approach?

Yes, despite all the "...until I outgrew it.." crap, it requires a mature approach to REALITY. Sorry to hear that reality/maturity is such a burden.

Kinda reminds me of our current crop of AGW alarmists, Malthusians, Keynesian and Marxist economists, leftist/Regressives, etc., that love to quote "science" or whatever until it gets in the way of their agenda.


 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Her fiction is inspirational, and in a broad general sense I agree with much of what she says. But when her general ideas get systematized into an ideology, it takes the form of a secular religion. Karl Marx also got a lot of things right about the context and time he lived in. In some ways, he agreed with Captin Sarcastic above — Marx cited Adam Smith as the preeminent economist, and argued that the nexus of business, capital and government thwarted real market mechanisms. But while one could gain insights from Marx on the role of social structures, alienation (which he borrowed from Rousseau in many ways) and the socio-political role of the economy, turning his work into an ideology (a secular religion) led to some of the most horrific crimes in history.

Marx and Rand seem oddly similar, with a key, fundamental difference. Each thought they were using reason to create an objective philosophy that would explain reality. Marx saw an end goal of pure libertarianism — no state, all action voluntary, all people fulfilled and free. Yet as imperfect humans both made errors. The inspirational nature of their ideas meant that it would lead some to be swept away by them. Ultimately Captin S. is right as well in the point that that objectivism can’t really exist as a political philosophy if it isn’t going to self-contradict. Here is the fundamental difference between Marx and Rand: Marx’s was an overtly political philosopy. That is why Marxism proved so much more dangerous that Randism. Marx embraced the notion that politics will not be corrupted if the right people get power, and history proves that wrong, and proves in fact the fundamental danger in any kind of centralization of power.

To me the only kind of libertarianism that can work is a pragmatic one, based more on the individualism of the Rand side and not the fantasies of collective liberation from the Marxian side. However, the collective does exist, societies are real, measurable, and operate under processes we can study, analyze and even predict. Politics is inevitable, and thus one needs some kind of political philosophy unless one wants to simply detach — but then that person’s life is riddled with contradictions as he or she inevitably is forced into compromises driven by a pragmatic desire to ’get by.’ The goal would be to work towards a culture whereby individual responsibility and a sense of respect for others as individuals (ethics — I think Rand’s thinking falls apart when it comes to ethics) lead governments to ultimately become unnecessary, or necessary only in minimalist form (we’re talking generations here at best). In other words, a world where people would choose freely to do what is necessary to create societal understandings and norms that would not require centralized power, but very limited decentralized minimalist institutions.

Oh, and in another thread I noted that spiritualism, especially given the openings made in science through quantum mechanics, need not be supernatural. It can be non-materialist natural, but with processes we aren’t able to measure or discern at this point in time. In that sense, I think arguments against any kind of spiritual perspective are weak, though it’s been so long I can’t connect this to the specifics of Rand’s argument. Yeah, it’s easy to argue against the big organized religions, claims of supernatural power, and the like. But that doesn’t mean only materialist interpretations are valid.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, on the issue of qualification. It’s been a long time since I read Rand, and I’ve only read parts of it. I did read Atlas Shrugged (after finding 2112 by Rush dedicated Rand), but other stuff I read later, as part of a long running debate with someone who had fallen into what I called the trap of ideology. So I’m remembering what I thought in the past, but it’s a memory of my reactions, so I’m not at all confident I have it right.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I almost typed that Ayn Rand was an important figure worthy of study if for no other reason than she inspired some really kick a$$ Rush songs.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
Then again, if there is a Christian God, it seems that your own self interest is pretty heavily invested with being altruistic.
But her explaination of this would be your mental illness of believeing in God. This is the biggest problem i have with Randism, she flips the "God did it" approach and changes it into "You are sick" They are the same basic argument. Explaining outliers in a philosophy with an argument that only servers to end discussion.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
But her explaination of this would be your mental illness of believeing in God.
I don’t think she ever held it as a mental illness. Least not that I recall. She did consider it irrational as it asserts as a premise something that isn’t known, and indeed, does not subject itself to routine scientific evaluation. It’s something she called a "floating abstraction," i.e., an abstraction with no referents in reality.

Conversely, she began her philosophy, not only with things that could be known, they were self evident:

1. I exist.
2. A thing is what it is.
3. I’m conscious of existence and identity.
Explaining outliers in a philosophy with an argument that only servers to end discussion.
If you are in a discussion with someone who fervently holds that Zeus exists and that he has a plan for your life, and for society and civilization, isn’t that an issue that must necessarily be settled before you can really move on to anything else?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com

1. I exist.
2. A thing is what it is.
3. I’m conscious of existence and identity.
I think Renee Descartes put it better. Number two is problemmatic. Most ’things’ are many things at the same time, depending on ones’ perspective.

Fundamentally, the only "things" that exist are subatomic particles, and even they are not true particles but probabilistic ripples in fields. Somehow we psychologically perceive these particles as the world of experience (though what we experience as solid matter is mostly empty space, as there are vast distances between the ’ripples in the fields’ and we’re not sure why most of them have mass). Unless observed, the location of these ’particles’ is probabilistic, and we’re not sure what it is about observing that causes them to suddenly have location. So a thing is what we observe it to be or how we experience it, labeling depends upon the context of the thing and the experience. Otherwise, all we have is a quantum soup.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
BTW, does anyone know how Rand felt about child rearing? It seems that is an example of when you actually do have to be altruistic (coming from someone who has a kid).

I keep thinking of the Ayn Rand School for Tots from the Simpsons.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
(So... anyway, after all that...)

I’m curious to know what you think, Dale.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I don’t think she ever held it as a mental illness. Least not that I recall. She did consider it irrational as it asserts as a premise something that isn’t known, and indeed, does not subject itself to routine scientific evaluation. It’s something she called a "floating abstraction," i.e., an abstraction with no referents in reality.
Just going off the videos presented here, she said "psychological weakness" "bad sign psychologically" so does "mentally deficient" work?
If you are in a discussion with someone who fervently holds that Zeus exists and that he has a plan for your life, and for society and civilization, isn’t that an issue that must necessarily be settled before you can really move on to anything else?
This is my point i guess, she is ending discussion about the existence of a God within her philosophy using an impassable argument of a believer being "mentally deficient" Just as many believers use "God did it" as an impassable argument to things happening in the universe. Youl never understand because you have a mental deficiency/youl never understand, its just God’s will.

The point that perhaps she has just not been in the right place applies here, and in many cases, she is taking for granted that we know everything about the universe. This is the biggest folly i see in many peoples logic. We cant sense it with either our technology or our sense, so its not there? Perhaps technology just has not gotten to the right place yet? Perhaps one day well get a microscope powerful enough and see "made by God" on the side of a quark.

The funny thing is that she basically replaces God with nature.



Keep in mind im going off a limited knowledge of her work here, so please excuse any ignorance.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
This is my point i guess, she is ending discussion about the existence of a God within her philosophy using an impassable argument of a believer being "mentally deficient" Just as many believers use "God did it" as an impassable argument to things happening in the universe.
Religious faith can come from subjective experience, something one knows inside but can’t show to others. Sometimes it does seem caused by mental disease — the psychotic hearing voices that tell him to burn or kill. But that does not mean that all are. Thus all she can really say is that she chooses not to believe in any religion or god because she has not had nor can she imagine the possibility of a valid subjective experience.

I’ve noticed that with some others who follow Rand when spirituality comes up — they will talk about ’unicorns’ or ’giant Captain Crunches’ in a way to argue by ridicule against anyone who notes that spiritual aspects of reality can’t be completely dismissed. The tactic of ridicule hides the fact that the issue of subjective experience is a hard one for so-called objectivists to deal with.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"...she is ending discussion about the existence of a God within her philosophy using an impassable argument of a believer being ’mentally deficient’..."
That is not an argument. It’s a judgment. One of these things is not like the other.

mush-brain:
"The tactic of ridicule hides the fact that the issue of subjective experience is a hard one for so-called objectivists to deal with."
It is impossible to deal with, Erb. It is exactly as impossible to deal with as unicorns, and nobody is bound to take it seriously.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
But Billy, people do take subjective experience seriously: their own. And why shouldn’t they? Because someone else who hasn’t had that experience judges it on the criteria set up by the other person?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
dink:
"But Billy, people do take subjective experience seriously: their own."
It is astounding, Erb — although right down your alley — to get this rubbish from someone so fond of referring to himself as a "scientist". Look: this is not simply about "personal experience," and if you really don’t know that, then you are at least as retarded as anyone has ever speculated about you. This is about an assertion of reality which has never been proved objectively and cannot be proved, by the very terms in which it is pitched. Observe, right here in this discussion, for instance:
"We cant sense it with either our technology or our sense..."
Now, I fully understand that that was not written in order to make my point, but there it is, with admirable precision. You people are talking about things that are not and cannot be "sense[d]" in any way that makes remotely rational use of the term and concept. And then you, for instance, revel in the craft of "faith" as pejorative, which is exactly what you do when you try to get up on your hind legs and address peoples’ rational conviction of the probity of freedom. It really is all quite thick.
"And why shouldn’t they?"
Hey: "Everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart." That’s what I always say. But it really will not do to try and claim reason, which is the whole product of "sense" in human affairs and on which reason must be founded for it to be "reason", in any of this. Really. That’s just ridiculous.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
josh b:
...and in many cases, she is taking for granted that we know everything about the universe.
It may seem that way to the uninitiated, but that’s not the case. She’s arguing that we’ve no choice but to accept that knowledge of reality is possible. To hold or suggest otherwise is self-contradictory. But we still have to acquire that knowledge via the senses, integration, rational induction, etc.

There’s some wiggle room between the agnostic and atheist as commonly understood, i.e., agnostic: ’i don’t know;’ atheist: ’there is no god.’ But this is really a misunderstanding of cognition. It is entirely proper to state that unicorns do not exist, no matter how many people might believe in them. Can you understand why, and then relate that to various God propositions?

The things Scott is generally referring to are impertinent to this discussion. Nobody (even Rand) is denying subjective experience and whatever value an individual may get out of it. Have at it.

But while our minds may dream up all manner of things, they fundamentally don’t create reality. They are designed to integrate it. As such, we seek explanation for everything and we come up with narratives (FDR was a great president because he ended the great depression; Lincoln fought the Civil War to free the slaves, etc.) to explain them. We have a narrative for everything, and that includes all manner of physical and natural phenomena (like sunrise and moonrise) going back as long as humans have been around.

As we grow in knowledge, these narratives get supplanted with knowledge of reality, i.e., our mind-created "reality" gets replaced with actual knowledge of reality. God is a particularly tough narrative, because it’s everyone’s meta-narrative — it’s the narrative from whence all others spring, such that, for example, when we find that we breath air because of a diaphragm and not that God gave us mouth-to-mouth, we just conclude that oh, we got it wrong how god gave us life, and the meta-narrative lives on.

I keep waiting for the day when there’s so little that required god to get done that he becomes irrelevant, but I think I’ll be waiting a while.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Read Hitchens’ book, Rich.

It’s bloody dynamite. I have some small problems with it, but I have not been so self-conscious at carrying any book around where others might see it since Randall Kennedy’s "N*gger: The Strange Career Of A Troublesome Word" (2002). My life is full of close people who would just about have a stroke if they scanned nearly any paragraph at random from this thing.

Nobody I’ve ever seen does this stuff like Hitch, and it’s terrific.


(A note about filtering here: observe that I had to mangle the title of that book in order to post this. As always: this is all-the-way within the legitimate authority of the owners here. I cannot help, however, but note how arbitrary such things can really be, and the sense of absurdity that I, for one, experience at this is something that I just have to point out.)
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy:

See here (and the comments, ’ole Sabotta among them).

I still haven’t finished it, though I spent some time in there just the other day. I love the Sony Reader. I’ve got over 40 books in there now, and I’m reading about three at the moment, Hitch’s being one of them. It not only dog-ear’s pages for later reference (and keeps them in a list), but it always remembers where you left off, even if you go to another book. Battery lasts weeks.

I am almost always amazed at Hitch’s mastery of the English language. It’s like a guitar player you might observe and realize that you could practice for a million years and never do what he does.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
I keep waiting for the day when there’s so little that required god to get done that he becomes irrelevant, but I think I’ll be waiting a while.
I agree with the point, but nowhere in the bible does god say he helps us breath. Or even says we dont change as a people over time. What do you say to the argument that God works through natural means to accomplish what we perceive as supernatural events? Perhaps if we as humans had perfect knowledge of all things, we could do anything God could. Just a thought, admittedly not dwelled upon. And possibly blasphemous :)
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
I agree with the point, but nowhere in the bible does god say he helps us breath.
Fill whatever you like in the blank. Makes no difference to the illustration.
What do you say to the argument that God works through natural means to accomplish what we perceive as supernatural events?
What do you say to the argument that Zeus created the Christian God so that he could occupy himself with other things?

It’s not an argument. It’s a question-begging assertion that assumes what it’s trying to show by means of smuggling a premise (God) that has no referent to reality (being, as it is, a subjective article of faith). Logically, it’s gibberish.
Perhaps if we as humans had perfect knowledge of all things...
Just like the other undefinable purported "attributes" of God (e.g. omnipotent being creating an immovable object), Omniscience is equally contradictory.

I don’t mean to be offensive, but this conversation is going nowhere, and probably won’t. On the one hand, it’s an interest to me because I was raised a fundamentalist baptist Christian. I attended divinity school. I’ve been an atheist for 17 years. On the other hand, such belief at this point truly does strike me as tantamount to adults believing in Santa Claus, and if this keeps up I’ll get more and more impatient (you can search my blog to see what an a-hole I can be about it). A third aspect is that I don’t even consider religion a harmless delusion any longer, but a profoundly evil institution on many levels.

There you have it.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
"What do you say to the argument that God works through natural means to accomplish what we perceive as supernatural events?"
Right off the bat, I say that we need to get our terms squared away. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t go around calling natural phenomena "supernatural" or vice-versa. My most basic fact in this part of it is that it is possible for human beings to know the world in which they live, even if they don’t know everything about it. What we do know, we know, and what we do know about it comes from the natural phenomena of our senses applied to the natural phenomena around us. (To include us, I might add.) All that stuff is "natural". Now, because of the necessity of the "our senses" bit of how we know what we know, nothing that cannot be sensed can be qualified as "knowledge". Like: "supernatural events". By definition, there is no way to know them.
"Perhaps if we as humans had perfect knowledge of all things..."
Well, then, we would know everything that there is to know about nature, and that — also by definition — would not include God.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Here’s something I wrote this weekend which has to do with where I think we get principally off track with the whole religion thing. The article I link is an interesting read, too.

In a nutshell, if religion simply consisted of some sense of spirituality, of a "higher purpose" or plane of existence that humans can and ought to attain through various contemplative practices (similar to Eastern mysticism) then I still likely wouldn’t participate, but I also would probably shut my mouth about it all.

It’s the primitive literalism that just leaves me utterly dumbfounded, anymore, particularly having lived in Japan for five years, and then Europe for two. Even with my strongly religious background, I got completely out of the habit of being around people who think there’s actually a real conscious being, somewhere, as opposed to simply a moral ideal that’s integrated with honor, pride, and virtue.

 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
well i was interested in your response Billy, but i gave up online religion discussion a few years back so i have to force myself to jump out at this point :) no offense to you or anything said, i really enjoy the discussion, i just cant do it anymore lol.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://
Richard, I agree with you about the ’primitive literalism’ of organized religions.

Billy, I agree nothing in subjective experience is scientific — science is by definition a social enterprise that requires replicability of tests. I also agree it is not knowledge; it is at best playful speculation that one engages in because one enjoys it. It may be completely wrong, and the person engaging in it, if thinking rationally, knows it may be completley wrong. But if it’s fun and gives one some satisfaction to think about some kind of spiritual state or natural spiritual aspect of life, then it does no harm (so long one doesn’t try to force it on others).

But while our minds may dream up all manner of things, they fundamentally don’t create reality. They are designed to integrate it. As such, we seek explanation for everything and we come up with narratives (FDR was a great president because he ended the great depression; Lincoln fought the Civil War to free the slaves, etc.) to explain them. We have a narrative for everything, and that includes all manner of physical and natural phenomena (like sunrise and moonrise) going back as long as humans have been around.

As we grow in knowledge, these narratives get supplanted with knowledge of reality, i.e., our mind-created "reality" gets replaced with actual knowledge of reality. God is a particularly tough narrative, because it’s everyone’s meta-narrative — it’s the narrative from whence all others spring, such that, for example, when we find that we breath air because of a diaphragm and not that God gave us mouth-to-mouth, we just conclude that oh, we got it wrong how god gave us life, and the meta-narrative lives on.
The essence I think of my disagreements with you and Billy on philosophy is that I am a skeptic (and yes, that includes recognition that skepticism may be wrong and you may be right — skepticism has to be self-skeptical) and I’m an idealist in the sense that I see ideas as being the essence of reality, not matter. I find neo-Platonism interesting, as well Bishop Berkeley’s idealism (and no, Billy, you can’t disprove his philosophy by kicking a stone or jumping off a cliff, Samuel Johnson not withstanding). That leads me to a philosophical pragmatism — what works in the world is worth holding true, even if we lack certainty that our experience of reality reflects reality. In that, I find a lot of what you and Billy (or Rand) argue to make sense because in general much of it works in the world.

Plotinus has been said to have one of the most ’pure’ forms of spiritual philosophy (e.g., no reliance on a god or supernatural being). Berkeley was obviously very religious and that informed his philosophy. I’ve wondered about the possibility of a quantum Deism as well. But ultimately my skepticism is strong enough to convince me that I just don’t know these things and am trying to figure out what works for me in the world in which I find myself.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Okay, you’re the AtlasBlogger, what was she saying?

Cap, land and oil are natural resources. A ’69 Camaro is not. It does not simply spring into existence. It is made by people. Your neighbor’s ownership of a ’69 Camaro is a result of property exchanges leading back to the creators of the vehicle. Ownership of land, oil, and other natural resources do not follow the same route – unless you wish to claim that the Earth’s creator granted somebody ownership of certain natural resources, in which case you have rejected Rand at her atheistic premises but still have not caught her in any kind of hypocrisy.

Who’s was it for those centuries while they didn’t know what to do with it.

Nobody’s. If you are unfamiliar with Rand’s views on how one would go about obtaining the rights to natural resources, you should read Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal or ask some Objectivists to explain, but Rand’s basic point here was that ownership of the oil and the installation were certainly not due to the revolutionaries who neither developed the natural resources nor contracted others to do so nor built or financed the installations nor respected the property rights of those who did. The revolutionaries took ownership of these things by force, which is what you suggest doing with your neighbor’s ’69 Camaro.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
"...science is by definition a social enterprise..."
Shut up. Asshole.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy, are you implying that science is not a social process? If so, then I have to conclude that you know very little about the philosophy of science and what scientists do. Scientists will be the first to tell you that science is by definition social — if you do it on your own, do not communicate it, do not have peer reviews, do not have other replicate and critique your methods, then you have not done science.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
As for myself, the following is my standard take on Objectivism, which I post to Objectivists from time to time. I haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer from them yet:

I suppose the root of my interest in Objectivism is trying to find out how someone like Rand who gives lip service to the greatness of Aristotle and Aquinas can go so horribly wrong as to attempt to marry their philosophical accomplishments to atheism. In order to do this, Objectivists have to "steal concepts" in the philosophy of religion from Hume, Kant and other skeptical philosophers. You might say that (from my perspective) there is an ironic (and "ominous") parallel between Objectivists and their putative philosophical opponents.

I thank (R)eality that I am now, and always have been, a philosophical objectivist. This has kept me from being an Objectivist (TM), and as such has put me on the road to defending the truths of the Aristotelian/Thomistic tradition in philosophy against Objectivists who seek to trash the truths found there precisely for "atheistic reasons."

I don’t accept their criticisms of belief in God primarily because I don’t believe that it "contradicts the primacy of existence," and if Rand or Peikoff ever bothered to actually *read* Aquinas properly, they might have found that out...
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
...then you have not done science.
That’s wrong, Scott. A lone individual is perfectly capable of doing 100% accurate science. A person stranded on a desert island, for instance, would be capable of scientific discovery (fire, cooking food, rudimentary structural engineering, chemical curing of meats, and so on).

Perhaps you mean that due to human fallibility, prejudice, emotions, the propensity to fool ourselves, and on and on, conducting science in a social atmosphere has proved beneficial — not to mention that things can move faster when others come up with implications and applications of your work you’ve not considered.

That said, it can be stifling as well when politics gets involved. Reality (scientific truth) is not subject to the vote of a committee.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
I don’t accept their criticisms of belief in God primarily because I don’t believe that it "contradicts the primacy of existence,"
Earnest, what do you mean by your use of the concept "God?" Are you talking about a literal conceptualizing consciousness with a will and "super powers," or are you talking about the "moral dimension of reality," i.e., the "vertical axis of existence," as some of the Eastern religions attempt to frame it?
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
"science is by definition a social enterprise"

Any source for that definition?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Tim: if you’d had a real e-mail address here, I’d have sent you a 3-1 bet.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The revolutionaries took ownership of these things by force
Wulf, how do you think the Shah, with whom she claims somebody signed a legitimate contract, took ownership of the these things?

More generally, Ayn Rand’s philosophy is a worthless load of old codswallop.

BTW did you know that the Ayn Rand Institute has a volunteer program?
 
Written By: retief
URL: http://
Retif, unless you are arguing that the Shah took these resources by force from the revolutionaries who then took it back (which would be false), then it doesn’t matter to this conversation. By Rand’s definitions of property rights, the revolutionaries never owned the resources until they took them from us.

Rand: Ok. So you’re gonna have a lot of oil, right?

Khomeini: Yeah.

Rand: Ok. That’s not yours?

Khomeini: Well, it becomes ours.

Rand: How’s that not stealing?


But retif, why bother arguing these details? You’ve already rejected Rand’s definition of property rights with the cutting argument that it is "a worthless load of old codswallop", so the rest of the pertinent details can be dismissed as well. If I remember my debate rules, you’ve already won the argument by not listening. Stick with that.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

Note under the scientific method the issue of replicability and peer review. An individual can do experiments and be scientific in his or her approach, but what passes for science in terms of generating knowledge requires that: a) a scientist explain the methodology used and communicate the results; b) that this be replicable by other scientists; c) that there is peer review to assess the test and its results; and d) that results inform other scientific research.

What you’re saying Ricahrd — and I agree — is that an individual can attempt to follow the scientific method and experiment, and this can yield useful knowledge to that individual. However, with no peer review, no replicability, no communication of the findings, individual error and bias go unchecked, and there are no knowledge claims that are acceptable to others. Only when the results and methods are communicated can it enter the body of scientific knowledge. In the philosophy of science, an individuals personal, uncommunicated experiments can’t be considered science since we have no way to assess them. It is akin to subjective experience — perhaps they did what otherwise would be great science, but if no one knows, then it’s irrelevant to everyone but the individual.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Wulf, how do you think the Shah, with whom she claims somebody signed a legitimate contract, took ownership of the these things?
To answer that, it’s clear that the Shah was supported by the CIA and western powers which had used economic sanctions to destabilize the existing regime and harm the Iranian economy.

Thus, it appears that the powerful have the right to manipulate environments to gain access to raw materials and that is not theft, while populations living in a region who try to get the benefits of the materials for themselves is theft. Thus in Nigeria it’s OK that big corporations and government cronies control the oil revenue while the people living in the Niger delta are impoverished. They just live there. If they try to gain control of the resources where they live, they’d be stealing from the powerful folk who exploit it.

What a convenient definition of property rights and theft! Convenient, at least, if you are powerful and wealthy, and want to assure that other people can’t challenge you for that position. It’s a good definition if you want the wealthy to stay wealthy, and the poor to stay in their place — they’re just "primitive savages," after all, rights don’t matter to them. We are civilized, we drive Hummers!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Note under the scientific method the issue of replicability and peer review.
The issue is replicability, i.e., can the predicted results be reverified over and over? Also, falsifiability, i.e., a test must be designed in such a way that a false result is possible (Billy: that applies to scientific propositions only). If done objectively, it matters not who does it. I agree that peer review is a valuable process, and really essential in terms of either getting research funded or to secure venture capital for science that has profit-making potential. But getting research or venture funding isn’t what makes science science.

I think what may be going on is that you’re setting up (what I consider) a false distinction between knowledge and scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is a category of knowledge — distinct, say, from the knowledge that my eggs are overdone on the stove downstairs.

But in the end, we’re talking about knowledge of reality, and while there are certainly some scientific endeavors that necessarily require more than one person by virtue of their magnitude, this is not essential to doing proper science, i.e., properly gaining new (physical, natural) knowledge of reality.
 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
unless you are arguing that the Shah took these resources by force
Of course that is what I am arguing. Although, how much argument is neccessary given that he came to power in by a coup? Even if the Shah’s use of force was not so blatant as coming to power on the backs of tanks storming the capital though, all governments maintain themselves in power by the use of force.

This is one of Rand’s many inconsistencies. She claims to be against the use of force, but clearly isn’t. She obviously disntinguises between legitimate force and force that is out of bounds but entirely fails to justify or elaborate that distinction coherently.

All of her philosophy boils down to one loooong whine that it really sucks that her dad’s business was expropriated by the Bolsheviks.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
"retief" —
"..the Shah, with whom she claims somebody signed a legitimate contract..."
Cite, please.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy Beck. Her "theys" WRT who nationalized oil and who signed contracts are a bit vague, but the passage quoted by Captain Sarcastic above is found at the very begining of part three of the Donohue interview, from 1980.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
"Her "theys" WRT who nationalized oil and who signed contracts are a bit vague,..."
...not to anyone who knows the history, which none of you do, but it doesn’t keep you from running your yaps. Take a good long look at this discussion. You will find that the word "Shah" appears first over the name of that bloody twit "Captain Sarcastic". He’s referring to Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. (Naturally, The Maine Mosquito just comes buzzing along in trail without a clue in the world.) It was his father who nationalized all oil concessions in Iran. If you want to learn something — anything — about any of this, you should turn to David Yergin’s "The Prize — The Epic Quest For Oil, Money, And Power", and enhance your reputations as much as possible by getting your bloody facts under you before you post.

On the other hand, none of you are in any shape to discuss rights at all, so this advice is almost unquestionably completely futile.

BTW —
"All of her philosophy boils down to one loooong whine that it really sucks that her dad’s business was expropriated by the Bolsheviks."
Aside from the fact that what you’re calling a "whine" is an incontrovertibly legitimate moral protest, you don’t know a goddamned thing about her philosophy, and I only wonder where you get the nerve to write something like that.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Ernest —
"I suppose the root of my interest in Objectivism is trying to find out how someone like Rand who gives lip service to the greatness of Aristotle and Aquinas can go so horribly wrong as to attempt to marry their philosophical accomplishments to atheism."
I would like to know more about what you mean by that, because it’s incomprehensible to me. It’s the word "marry" that throws me. That has never occurred to me in any way.

I don’t get it, man.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php

On the other hand, none of you are in any shape to discuss rights at all, so this advice is almost unquestionably completely futile.
Gee, Billy, it almost sounds like you’re defending monarchical governmental rights to claim natural resources. But since you don’t make a real argument and just throw out snippets combined with insults, it’s hard to know what you mean. You never give enough to let anyone pin you down, trying to get you to actually take a stand is like trying to hold mercury. Compare your posts with my detailed and explicit statments of what I believe, my acknowledgment that I am still trying to figure things out, and my willingness to consider other arguments and respond to them. You take a stand by asserting what you believe, but don’t seem to want to do the work of defending it and explaining it (using the excuse that all of us unwashed are incapable of understanding the depth of your ideas). You claim you have debated this back in the nineties; perhaps. But perhaps you got burnt by counter arguments that you now shy away from real engagement.

Richard, I still don’t define the individual following the scientific method as doing science, which I define (and, to be sure, was defined in the philosophy of science class I took) as requiring the social process of communication so that it could be progressive — standing on the shoulders of giants, as it were. That is science writ large, a process that over time, over generations, develops greater knowledge because of communication.

All that said, I understand your point, and at some level we’re just defining the term differently. So unless you think it’s significant, I’ll just chalk this up to using the word in slightly different ways, with my bias coming from my particular study.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Gee, Billy, it almost sounds like you’re defending monarchical governmental rights to claim natural resources. But since you don’t make a real argument and just throw out snippets combined with insults, it’s hard to know what you mean.
Everything about why you say that is bound up in a dense complexion of exactly two reasons, Erb: 1) you’re as stupid as the day is long, and 2) you came to the fullest flower of your internet "debate" skills under the masterful tutelage of The Peasant Oozer Zepp and Kurt "Bagboy" Lochner.

What you think about me is less than worthless.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Billy,

I’m going to be busy for the next few days with remote sales for the store, but I’ll put up answers to your and Richard’s questions at saturninretrograde.blogspot.com and drop you both a line when I write the post.

Expect it around Thursday.

Ernie
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
"unless you are arguing that the Shah took these resources by force"

Retif, by only quoting part of what I’ve said, you manage to misrepresent me and frankly the entire point of the conversation I was having with Sarcastic about the Camaro. It’s a complete non sequitur - even setting aside Beck’s points about those pesky historical facts.

Now, I certainly don’t mind if you want to talk about all of that with somebody, but it’s simply not the conversation I was having with Sarcastic. I just want to make that clear - I do not like to see myself misrepresented any more than I liked seeing Rand’s argument likened to the advocacy of motor vehicle theft.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Billy,

"On the other hand, none of you are in any shape to discuss rights at all, so this advice is almost unquestionably completely futile."

Especially since there’s nothing weird about Rand’s position. It is similar to Locke’s "intermixture of labor" argument for property.
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://
That’s right, Ernest.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php

What you think about me is less than worthless.
And the same for what you think of me. Billy, I see right through you.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You’ve been watching me breaking my neck online for individuals for over ten years, you think I’m "defending monarchical governmental rights", and you "see right through" me? Who do you think you’re kidding, Erb?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
You’ve been watching me breaking my neck online for individuals for over ten years, you think I’m "defending monarchical governmental rights", and you "see right through" me? Who do you think you’re kidding, Erb?
I believe I’m seeing contradictions in your thinking, though you are careful to never say enough to make it clear just where you’re coming from. You seem to agree that the Shah had property rights because of his father...but that was only because of the nature of government and monarchy. If I misunderstood you, I apologize — though your lack of clarity is partially to blame.

It’s like around the time of the Iraq war you didn’t seem as bothered by it as Thoreau, say, was by the Mexican war. You seemed to suggest you’d prefer it to be done by volunteers, but it was worth doing (of course, one could have the same reaction to social welfare programs — a military action is just a government program). I never got a straight answer from you on that either. So I’m left thinking you’re unwilling to confront contradictions in your philosophy, or at the very least your gut takes over your head every once in awhile.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
To Nikoley

1. "It’s the primitive literalism that just leaves me utterly dumbfounded, anymore, particularly having lived in Japan for five years, and then Europe for two. Even with my strongly religious background, I got completely out of the habit of being around people who think there’s actually a real conscious being, somewhere, as opposed to simply a moral ideal that’s integrated with honor, pride, and virtue"

Leaving Europe aside, you sure didn’t notice much in Japan. Or you were holding conversations with nobody except shape-changing foxes, a notoriously untrustworthy lot.

Some of them are pretty cute, though.

"The night of his return, as he sat on his doorstep, thanking all the deities for his good luck, the fox-maiden again appeared before him, this time clad only in the soft moon-whiteness of her adorable body, so that he turned away his face from the sight of it. Asked she: "Have I kept my fox-word?" And he answered, stammering: "Eight hundred times! Today I am the richest man in these parts." Said she: "Look upon me. Wouldst thou not posses me as thy concubine?" Then, peeping despite himself betwixt his fingers, he beheld the clear and lovely luster of her satiny skin, her breasts like twin snow-hillocks, her bending waist, and the sweet hidden curves of her thighs, and all his senses clamored like bells, so that he covered his eyes with his sleeve."

2. Your Bog is Dood

Stevie Smith - Our Bog is Dood

Our Bog is dood, our Bog is dood,
They lisped in accents mild,
But when I asked them to explain
They grew a little wild.
How do you know your Bog is dood
My darling little child?

We know because we wish it so
That is enough, they cried,
And straight within each infant eye
Stood up the flame of pride,
And if you do not think it so
You shall be crucified.

Then tell me, darling little ones,
What’s dood, suppose Bog is?
Just what we think, the answer came,
Just what we think it is.
They bowed their heads. Our Bog is ours
And we are wholly his.

But when they raised them up again
They had forgotten me
Each one upon each other glared
In pride and misery
For what was dood, and what their Bog
They never could agree.

3. I have no comment on Erb’s "quantum Deism" except to observe that it’s true and it isn’t true, depending on whether or not Scott has his head up his ass.
 
Written By: John Sabotta
URL: www.superbad.com
...not to anyone who knows the history, which none of you do, but it doesn’t keep you from running your yaps. Take a good long look at this discussion. You will find that the word "Shah" appears first over the name of that bloody twit "Captain Sarcastic". He’s referring to Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. (Naturally, The Maine Mosquito just comes buzzing along in trail without a clue in the world.) It was his father who nationalized all oil concessions in Iran. If you want to learn something — anything — about any of this, you should turn to David Yergin’s "The Prize — The Epic Quest For Oil, Money, And Power", and enhance your reputations as much as possible by getting your bloody facts under you before you post.
I love this stuff. There is nothing more entertaining than having someone call you a bloody twit who doesn’t have his facts right, and then goes off and gets HIS FACTS wrong.

It was not the FATHER of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi who was the Shah when the oil industry was nationalized, it the same Shah that we saw deposed in 1979 that oversaw nationalization in 1951. His father, the former Shah, was deposed in 1941 when Iran was invaded by Anglo-Soviet forces and he died in 1944. Nationalization did not occur until 1951, and it was legally contested by Great Britain and Iran won that decision.

When I commented on Rand’s comments, the historical context as I saw it was the Iranian revolution that did not so much nationalize the oil industry, as it was already nationalized, but rather broke contracts that were initiated by the Shah. And by the way, do you think, mayhaps, that invading Iran in 1941 might have given Iran cause to void those contracts with the invading parties???
"We own by contract right, the installation that we helped them to build. This we earned and they nationalized from us, they have no right to their soil if they do nothing with it. Rights are not involved in those primitive societies, But they made a deal with us, they want to bring us in to develop their oil, and then they tried to exploit and literally murder us by means of that oil. That is an unforgiveable crime."

"It isn’t (their oil), it was there for centuries and they didn’t know what do with it."
More importantly, my questions were concerning property rights, as in, if there is gold under my property, and I don’t find it, does it not still belong to me as long as the property belongs to me??? According to Ayn Rand, it does not.(apparently the facetious Camaro comparison allowed too much room for dissembling)


That bloody twit "Captain Sarcastic"
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
My preliminary reply is up:


http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com/2007/09/atheism-vs.html
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://

 
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