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  1. #101
    Ginkgo
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    One criticism I could imagine being brought against Libertarianism is that it caters to the "Selfish", especially since Ayn Rand created her philosophy of selfishness. However, it seems like she grouped "self-interest" into "selfishness". The difference is that all human motivation arises out of self-interest, while "Selfishness" excludes the self-interest of others. Therefore, someone could act altruistically through self-interest. Most Libertarian ideals aim to reduce the power of government down to national defense and a few other light, anti-monopolizing interventions to let the self-interest of the people flourish. Therefore, it is a very unselfish political idea. Philanthropy is often one of those self-interests. The social justice fantasized by liberals could be had under libertarianism, but only if it is guided by the citizen and not the government.

    The philosophy of Libertarianism asserts that free-will exists and that everything follows thereafter. Interestingly, though, the political libertarianism has a passively deterministic mechanic.

    Envy in moderation is healthy. However, the envy of consumerism consumes the self-interest of the consumer. The consumerist is envious not because he has determined what he wants, but because he is told that he should have something.

  2. #102
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I withdrew my post because I thought it was too strong. Screw it. Here is is:

    Something is wrong.

    We believe capitalism to be a good system in the West

    At its center is the corporation, an artificial construct that has the rights of a person but the mind of a sociopath

    The envy is propelled by continuing escalated materialism which we are bombarded with everyday through media and is supported by accessible credit that people can't afford. Credit is good for the businesses because they make short term profits that CEOs are rewarded for.

    However, credit enslaves us. We become even further dependent on those corporations that employ us while eliminating pensions, cutting back health care, eliminating jobs, and the same time moving our jobs offshore. Mom and Dad both go to work in the name of equality. Then both can make more money and can buy more things, and take out more credit and pay higher income taxes. An astute observer can see who this benefits in the broader picture.

    Families can get ahead over generations, through luck, persistence, hard work, and good ideas. But in doing so, how much of their soul do they sometimes lose?

    We are all like rats running on a treadmill faster and faster except we're not in good shape - we eat too much processed foods and don't exercise

    Maybe we should completely reconsider our perspectives.
    Last edited by highlander; 11-21-2010 at 02:07 PM.

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  3. #103
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I withdrew my post because I thought it was too strong. Screw it. Here is is:

    "Something is wrong.

    We believe capitalism to be a good system in the West

    At its center is the corporation, an artificial construct that has the rights of a person but the mind of a sociopath

    The envy is propelled by continuing escalated materialism which we are bombarded with everyday through media and is supported by accessible credit that people can't afford. Credit is good for the businesses because they make short term profits that CEOs are rewarded for.

    However, credit enslaves us. We become even further dependent on those corporations that employ us while eliminating pensions, cutting back health care, eliminating jobs, and the same time moving our jobs offshore. Mom and Dad both go to work in the name of equality. Then both can make more money and can buy more things, and take out more credit and pay higher income taxes. An astute observer can see who this benefits in the broader picture.

    Families can get ahead over generations, through luck, persistence, hard work, and good ideas. But in doing so, how much of their soul do they sometimes lose?

    We are all like rats running on a treadmill faster and faster except we're not in good shape - we eat too much processed foods and don't exercise

    Maybe we should completely reconsider our perspectives."
    You're absolutely right in your perspective, I think. None of those things are built in to capitalism, though. Credit is easy to get because the government has made it easy to get. Therefore, people become dependent on it. Corporations did not always have "personhood" and it would be great to eliminate that. That's still not a problem with the concept of capitalism.
    You lose.

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  4. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by freeeekyyy View Post
    You're absolutely right in your perspective, I think. None of those things are built in to capitalism, though. Credit is easy to get because the government has made it easy to get. Therefore, people become dependent on it. Corporations did not always have "personhood" and it would be great to eliminate that. That's still not a problem with the concept of capitalism.
    I would suggest that they arent built into the economy, I wouldnt suggest they arent built into capitalism.

    Its incredibly reductive but capitalism IS about the fast buck, those who criticise it will say that's its greatest fault because of its consequences, those who support it will suggest its its greatest strength ironically because of what they consider its consequences too. A very positive spin on capitalism would be that allowing people to pursue the fast buck results in so much indirect or accidential benefits that its better than any other variety of economy.

    However, its still people pursuing the fast buck and that includes credit scams and financial scheming, the blame for that cant exactly be laid at the door of government, at least not by any dyed in the wool capitalist who believes that the market is a perfectly self-regulating and correcting mechanism.

    I think MT has a good point about the conflating and confusing of self-interest and selfishness, I hate Rand and her philosophy but I keep in mind that she was attempting to create an opposition to ideologies or norms which demanded sacrifices of people, personally I think capitalism demands sacrifices of people, particularly the working people but also the people rich enough to pay the taxes required to keep the whole economy ticking over, which is why I dont favour it. Its a coincidence and accident that we'd converge on essentially the same point but beginning from extreme opposites, the characterisations of egalitarians and socially conscience people in her novels are cartoonish and crap but they lampoon a tendency to trip head long into neurotic self-denial which properly understood any socialist, or other liberation theoriest like a feminist, would surely agree with.

    Highlander, on the face of it I agree with attacks on materialism, I dont chase the latest fashion and I live very much within my means but I can understand the appeal of so called materialism sometimes, especially to those who havent had anything for a long time. If you consider a lot of the popular classic childrens tales about discovering buried treasure or even more contemporary ones about inheriting a fortune or winning the lottery there is an undeniable reason why they appeal and I like to acknowledge that.

    It's perhaps not what you're talking about but anyway, I've read some good criticisms of capitalism which hinge on its dependency upon enough people buying fantasies about change in their circumstances so that they may personally share in the good life they're one way or another providing for others and that may be more to do with your point. A lot of people would prefer that chance of obscene personal wealth to an objective reality in which everyone lived comfortably but at the same level, at least in capitalistic cultures.

  5. #105
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I frequently hear capitalists accuse socialists of stoking peoples envy or accusing anyone critical of inequality as being merely envious of others but reading Daniel Bell, who I reckon is a bit more difficult to place politically, he suggests that status competition in consumer socieites has lead to the institutionalisation of envy.

    So instead of being something which anyone, socialist or otherwise, could import into cultural or political struggles its something which is already there and infact underpins the economy itself.

    Would you agree or is it just too easier to believe the former than the later? Or could the later be true but the former true too? I think perhaps its a case of each but capitalising on accusations of envy has pretty much been restricted to the political right wing.
    The bourgeoisie. Poor devils. So much unnecessary fuss and fear and envy and hate.
    Fuss: Polished shoes, bald head, well-ironed shirts and trousers.
    Investments. Insurance. Endless sighs. Sleepless nights.
    Fear of the homeless getting a home.
    Collecting names to thwart housing for the homeless in the neighbourhood.
    Status competition: Ill will directed at the poor. Endless admiration for the rich.
    Admiration is identification.
    Competition does not take place with the rich. It takes place with the homeless.

    The rich is the friend.
    Only the poor is the Feind. Excuse my Yiddish.

  6. #106
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I would suggest that they arent built into the economy, I wouldnt suggest they arent built into capitalism.
    Maybe we're using different definitions of capitalism. To me, "the economy" and capitalism are the same thing. In a truly free-market economy, capitalism is neither encouraged nor discouraged. It is simply a word used to describe the transactions that people make on their own, without pressure from outside forces. Capitalism is the most natural economic system because it is the only one which does not rely on outside force to exist. It absolutely can be about the fast buck, but that's dependent on the parties involved in a particular transaction. That is not inherent to the system and depends entirely on the character of the people involved. You could say that allowing people to pursue selfish ends is the same as encouraging it, but I'm not sure I agree and I think that's a separate issue anyway.
    You lose.

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  7. #107
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I withdrew my post because I thought it was too strong. Screw it. Here is is:

    Something is wrong.

    We believe capitalism to be a good system in the West

    At its center is the corporation, an artificial construct that has the rights of a person but the mind of a sociopath

    The envy is propelled by continuing escalated materialism which we are bombarded with everyday through media and is supported by accessible credit that people can't afford. Credit is good for the businesses because they make short term profits that CEOs are rewarded for.

    However, credit enslaves us. We become even further dependent on those corporations that employ us while eliminating pensions, cutting back health care, eliminating jobs, and the same time moving our jobs offshore. Mom and Dad both go to work in the name of equality. Then both can make more money and can buy more things, and take out more credit and pay higher income taxes. An astute observer can see who this benefits in the broader picture.

    Families can get ahead over generations, through luck, persistence, hard work, and good ideas. But in doing so, how much of their soul do they sometimes lose?

    We are all like rats running on a treadmill faster and faster except we're not in good shape - we eat too much processed foods and don't exercise

    Maybe we should completely reconsider our perspectives.

    Wow. You really posted this, a complete aping of a biased documentary film made by people not including yourself? Do you have any thoughts of your own on the matter? You should be embarrassed.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #108
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Wow. You really posted this, a complete aping of a biased documentary film made by people not including yourself? Do you have any thoughts of your own on the matter? You should be embarrassed.
    Correction - There are several different documentaries where some of these ideas were derived from. I do admit that one of them in particular has influenced my thinking a great deal.

    Do you think any of the statements to be untrue?

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  9. #109
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    How much of your soul do you think you will lose if you partake in the horrors of hard work, persistence, and the creation of new ideas?

  10. #110
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beargryllz View Post
    How much of your soul do you think you will lose if you partake in the horrors of hard work, persistence, and the creation of new ideas?
    Thank you for raising that question. I'm not explaining myself very well. I think the issue is that we spend so much time working and striving for material things, and then taking care of those things (our precious lawns, landscapes, houses, etc.) that we miss out on what is important in life. Not sure where I read this but, "Nobody on their death bed says they wish they had spent more time in the office." What is at issue is the value structure that equates success with acquisition of material things, and the behaviors that this leads to.

    By the way, I'm not somebody who has been living life through bohemian values or something. I've been sucked into this value structure and culture as much as anyone.

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