Today at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET): Altruism (at CPAC), Abortion (in China), Anonymity & Adoption (in Germany) & more!

TODAY: Altruism (at CPAC), Abortion (in China), Anonymity and Adoption (in Germany) & more!

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7 responses to “Today at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET): Altruism (at CPAC), Abortion (in China), Anonymity & Adoption (in Germany) & more!

  1. Kory Leavitt

    Thanks for addressing my questions regarding the morality of abortion. I am happy that you agree that pregnancy and abortion as a result of wanton behavior is immoral. I am still concerned about the definition of viability. I think it’s hard to argue that a 2 year old, or even a 5 or 6 year old are viable lives. They are completely dependent on the parent(s). So when does a being acquire rights? Isn’t it necessary for rights to be actionable in order to exist? Shouldn’t a being be able to support his life independently in order to attain rights?

  2. Craig

    Children acquire individual rights (and become adults) when they are able to claim them by becoming self-supporting, self-sustaining beings. Americans are not only a nation of sheep, they are a nation of immature children.

    • Craig

      Individual rights do not pertain to human beings as such, much less to attaining a certain age. That would be arbitrary and non-objective. Such rights pertain to possessing certain objective qualities. And they pertain to any being that possesses those qualities irrespective of age or species. In the case of non-humans (and some humans, unfortunately), one quality that needs to be added is the capacity for communication.

  3. jules AKA Jujifruit

    In a review on George Saunders new novel in the nytimes mag: “Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year,” I read this:

    >> “I’d been kind of an Ayn Rand guy before that,” he (Saunders) said. And then you go to Asia and you see people who are genuinely poor and genuinely suffering and hadn’t gotten there by whining.” While on a break in Singapore, walking back to his hotel in the middle of the night, he stopped by an excavation site and “saw these shadows scuttling around in the hole. And then I realized the shadows were old women, working the night shift. Oh, I thought, Ayn Rand doesn’t quite account for this.” << – NYTimes mag

    Any media attention re: Ayn Rand catches my eye. I'd like to hear replies on this Rand-apostate. Read entire article here:

    p.s. His words resounded: "…wisdom imparted from Saunders to himself: “Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”

    Frankly, I don't know what to think.

    • Sajid A.

      “. And then I realized the shadows were old women, working the night shift. Oh, I thought, Ayn Rand doesn’t quite account for this.”

      Ayn Rand would probably say that their lives would have been even worse if it weren’t for capitalism and I think she would be right. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even be alive. The world’s population has tripled has increased about 4-fold over the past 100 years a a result of the scientific revolution.

      Rand never had a problem with solving the problems that constitute human poverty. She just figured you shouldn’t forcibly use anyone’s
      money to do it.

      “Having felt that abyss, I basically said, ‘O.K., capitalism, I have seen your gaping maw, and I want no trouble with you.’

      It is a little unclear from the article but it seems that he had some trouble with his wife and the birth of his children and after going through that he decided that some costs should be borne as a society (at least that is my interpretation of what was said).

      later he says:

      ““I saw the peculiar way America creeps up on you if you don’t have anything,” he told me. “It’s never rude. It’s just, Yes, you do have to work 14 hours. And yes, you do have to ride the bus home. You’re now the father of two and you will work in that cubicle or you will be dishonored. Suddenly the universe was laden with moral import, and I could intensely feel the limits of my own power. We didn’t have the money, and I could see that in order for me to get this much money, I would have to work for this many more years. It was all laid out in front of me, and suddenly absurdism wasn’t an intellectual abstraction, it was actually realism. You could see the way that wealth was begetting wealth, wealth was begetting comfort — and that the cumulative effect of an absence of wealth was the erosion of grace.””

      Here he is basically lamenting the fact that you need money to create the money to acquire the “grace” that is necessary to live the life that he would like to live.

      I guess Saunders argument against Rand is that some people are more unfortunate than others and that this makes him uncomfortable–especially because there were times that he did not have a lot of money and that he will never be able to make the kind of money that is made by huge capital.

      All in all, his arguments don’t seem well-developed but I sympathize with what he is saying since I am pretty much a Rand apostate myself. I don’t think Ayn Rand understood the importance of the relation between a “safety net” or personal security and being able to take the kinds of risks that allow a person to start huge companies. She also never had a family and perhaps did not fully understand the awesome responsibility that comes with bearing and supporting children.

      I don’t agree that a man should be permanently confused unless the man is living on the edge of artistic experience and continually trying to develop new truths (like Saunders). But I don’t think that choosing to continually seek new and interesting experiences that alter ones view of reality is a bad thing either and is most certainly not a symptom of cognitive dissonance. This issue seems to fall more in the realm of personal choices.

      Anyways, some random thoughts about Saunders and thanks for the link — it was an interesting read.

      • jules

        To Sajid A.: Thank you for your intelligent and explicit reply to my question on George Saunders’ personal comments re: Ayn Rand quoted in the NYTimes book review. Your exposition of Saunders vis à vis Rand make a lot of sense; I enjoyed reading it.

        You point out that Ms. Rand never had to raise a family which is a priority in most people’s lives. The people I grew up around counted on their own resources and hard work for the children they brought into the world and were too proud to take “charity.” I doubt they ever heard of Ayn Rand.
        Nowadays it appears that American self-sufficient values have changed due to govt hand-outs and dependency on State social services.
        This too will pass. As another brilliant woman (who recently died) predicted, “Eventually, you run out of other people’s money.”

        To be in a continuous state of confusion would be an overwhelming tax on one’s mind, not to mention continuos distress — unless (as you said) a choice to seek artistic interpretations of experiences of reality.

  4. jules AKA Jujifruit

    Ayn Rand would disagree with the Saunder’s above statement (“to himself.”) Rand insisted there is ‘right thinking’ as opposed to wrong. The truth is absolute; so to “be confused” was an error in cognitive thinking. This sums up a liberal’s view vs. a conservative’s.

    How would Aristole’s “The Golden Mean” figure into this philosophical dilemma? Is the middle ground ever an option? Until we know the entire Truth, can we make positive, absolute choices? IDK, but would like to.

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