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13 replies to this topic

#1
MAF

MAF
  • 461 posts

I wasn't going to write this post because I feared being torn down for bragging.  I thought about this fear and realized that it is an irrational fear, and one that I think has to do with my childhood and my peers tearing me down and teasing me about bragging every time I presented them with useful information. 

The main motivation for me to post this is because of Stef's call in show this weekend.  I didn't realize that even after 920 that he would still have such a problem getting people motivated to help spread the word.  I understand as much as anyone how frightening it is to approach this subject with other people.  I realize how safe it feels just talking on this board and keeping your dark anarchist secret to yourself.  But, you and I know that eventually you will have to let the truth out.  I am taking it a few steps at a time, because I don't think I am emotionally ready to handle the possibility of almost everyone in my life rejecting me and in turn me having to reject them.  I post this to help other listeners take the step of personalizing this philosophy, and to show one of many methods that are possible when approaching friends and family on this subject.

Here is the first step I have taken to opening up this conversation to people in my life.  I have e-mailed my best friend and ultimately ended up buying a copy of UPB.  We are going to discuss it when I fly back for Christmas, and I'll update you about the outcome.  Also, I wrote this to him before 920, so after re-reading this e-mail there are things I should have said a little differently.

From me, to him:

I mentioned a couple e-mails ago that I am no longer an Objectivist.  I am sure you are curious, but am also sure you were afraid to ask why, because of what has happened in the past when you and I discuss philosophical ideas.  We disagree on the fundamental area of ethics, due to your thought that ethics are subjective and society based (moral relativism) and my thought that ethics are objective and can be applied to every individual universally.  I admit that I originally went about discussing these ideas in the wrong way.  Instead of questioning and being genuinely curious about your criticisms of my newfound ideas, I just asserted my ideas and shut down.  I can see now why you responded so emotionally to our discussions.  I think this was due to me not having sufficient philosophical knowledge to properly debate ideas.  I was also so swept up in the ideas I was reading, that I became what I now refer to as a randroid (Objectivist n00b, with the spit and fire of Ayn Rand).

Objectivism didn't quite hit the nail on the head when it came to a rational proof of ethics.  I still think it is one of the most important philosophies ever developed, but am not about to go around as a card carrying member of it any longer.  Over the past year my girlfriend and I have been examining problems with the logical construction of Objectivist ethics and have finally figured out the fatal flaws of the Objectivist system of ethics.  I won't go into detail here about that right now.  That's a topic for later discussion.

At one time I remember you were interested in philosophy.  Knowing what you know about mathematic proofs, philosophy and the scientific method, I wondered if you would be interested, or have the time, to read a philosophical proof that I found that convinced me that there are universal rational and secular ethics.  I can get this book to you in regular book format, PDF or audiobook, whatever you prefer.  It's a shorter read than most philosophical books, but still requires quite a bit of focus.

I think I've reached a level where you and I can discuss ideas without offending each other, even if ultimately you and I draw separate conclusions about ethics.  I think we'd relate even better now since I am more interested than ever in a critical look at all ideas (as long as they are based in observable reality).

I'd like to present something to you to pique your interest a bit more in this subject.  Below is a link to a video by the philosopher that developed the ethical proof I am talking about.  If you have 22 minutes some night to watch it, please do.  It's kind of hard to watch because it touches on the subject of the current war, so be forewarned.  The subject here very much relates to the rational proof he has constructed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X78CYn_F6b8

Take your time considering these ideas.  When/if you are ready to read the proof for ethics, let me know and I'll get you a copy.

Yes, I'm an idealist and will probably never see what I think is right come fully into existence in my lifetime.  However, I do think that the ideas I have come across are so important and need to be considered by rational, analytical, active minded people, like you.

 

His reply:

You are right, I was very curious when you said you were no longer an Objectivist and I chose not to ask about it for the reasons you list.  I appreciate you giving me a second chance at discussing philosophy.  I want you to know that although I have not always seen eye to eye with you on philosophical and political issues, I do very much respect the amount of thought, research and logical reasoning you put into forming your ideas.

I am interested in reading the book you mention on the proof of universal rational and secular ethics.  If you could send me the pdf, that would be great.  Honestly, I have lost most of my former general interest in philosophy.  I suspect this is due to the fact that my job is to daily spend hours carefully analyzing technical mathematical proofs. Unfortunately, this means thinking critically about non-math things isn’t as fun for me as it used to be. That being said, I will do my best to read through the book that you send me.

After he sent that reply I promptly purchased a copy of UPB and sent it to him. 

In other good news, a libertarian friend of mine quickly converted to anarchist when I presented him with these ideas.  He was already on the verge so it was pretty easy (he's a bit of survivalist and very anti-government due to his bad experience in the military).  Now the challenge will be to see if he applies it to his personal relationships.


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#2
Nathan

Nathan
  • 13064 posts

Where do you meet these people maf? Where do you meet people who will talk about philosophy or any kind of subject where thinking is involved? There are bars, restaurants, coffee shops, stores and more Churches than schools in Houston, I'm not sure if there is any place else where people hang out these days.  I know where these people don't hang out, I don't know where they do hang out. The odds are slim of running into one of these people as it is, and I certainly won't run into any of them while sitting around at home.  Like I said there are sports clubs but I hate sports and a lot of other clubs involve people half my age.  So uh...

Any ideas?  Must I pay to take classes somewhere?  Must it be a specific kind of class?


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#3
MAF

MAF
  • 461 posts

Where do you meet these people maf? Where do you meet people who will talk about philosophy or any kind of subject where thinking is involved? There are bars, restaurants, coffee shops, stores and more Churches than schools in Houston, I'm not sure if there is any place else where people hang out these days.  I know where these people don't hang out, I don't know where they do hang out. The odds are slim of running into one of these people as it is, and I certainly won't run into any of them while sitting around at home.  Like I said there are sports clubs but I hate sports and a lot of other clubs involve people half my age.  So uh...

Any ideas?  Must I pay to take classes somewhere?  Must it be a specific kind of class?

I always naturally surrounded myself with the smartest people I could find. I have known my best friend since 4th grade, and he and I were the smartest kids in the class at the time.  Since then, my friends were almost always the nerds of the class.  90% of the group I hung out with in high school were in the valedictorian circle.  In college I hung out with my best friend's friends who were all math grad students and are all now pursuing their doctorate degrees.

Unfortunately for a three year period of my life I hung around my ex-girlfriend's friends, who were all very self-destructive, unmotivated people.  It was very destructive for my own life and am happy I got out of that relationship, the the "friendships" that came along with that relationship, when I could.

I went through a year period after that relationship basically trying to destroy my remaining good friendships.  Fortunately my best friend was very honest with me in that period and actually stopped hanging out with me for awhile because he could see how destructive I was being.  One night we actually got into a fist fight, which started off as a drunken (friendly) wrestling match, which went too far.  The aggression on both sides was due to me being angry at him for abandoning me and him being frustrated with me trying to destroy myself.  The day after that night something clicked in me and I started to actively thinking about what I was doing with my life. 

Soon after I got involved with a girl on the Internet.  I read her blog for about a month before I got the guts to contact her.  My first interaction with her was destructive.  She tried to argue her ideas with me (Objectivism) and I did nothing but ridicule her and use stupid logic tricks I learned from a religious philosopher I knew.  She didn't seem interested in talking with me any longer and that made me afraid because I respected her so much.  So I wrote a letter of apology to her and she gave me second chance.  After a couple of frustrating months, with a lot of patience on her part, I finally started to live my life in a logical manner.  She saw how I was progressing and fell in love with me.  I had not defined love in my life so that was a new struggle for me.  Eventually I defined it and told her that I loved her.  I moved out to be with her about a year and a half ago and have been living the best time of my life so far.

Both she and I are here (on these forums) taking the next step in our lives to improve ourselves and live as freely as possible.

It feels like just the start, and the journey ahead is a treacherous one.  It's like we've been hiking this whole, long way and just realized we are at the base camp of Mount Everest.  ...but I think we are ready for the climb, or at least a few attempts until the grunt to the top.

As far as where to find people to hang out with...  That's a problem of mine as well.  Many of my friendships have been established through my other friendships.  So I am unsure what I would do without those base friendships.  I think once you find one or two good friends, the others come into your life naturally.  I met my girlfriend on the net, so browse around blogs and talk to like-minded people.  Find people close to your area, or move to an area that has more people like you.  Try not to be a stalker though, I've freaked out plenty of bloggers before I had a good grasp on how to approach people online for a real world relationship. 


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#4
Nathan

Nathan
  • 13064 posts
So online blogs, I suppose I could try that.
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#5
MAF

MAF
  • 461 posts

So online blogs, I suppose I could try that.

Just an option.  I'm no expert on finding friends, so I feel almost like the blind leading the blind.

I do keyword searches using Google's blog search to find new people to discuss ideas with:
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?q=market+anarchy

You can also create an RSS feed out of any search, and keep updated on certain keywords. 


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#6
afrls

afrls
  • 430 posts

No offense man, but it's not that simple to convert most friends. You first assume that the person already has a grasp of libertarianism/objectivism. In my opinion, the leap from conservative/liberal to minarchist is much greater than minarchist to an-cap.

 I believe minarchists view issues in pragmatic terms. The anarcho-capitalist position is much better supported by philosophical arguments than pragmatic arguments.


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#7
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

No offense man, but it's not that simple to convert most friends. You first assume that the person already has a grasp of libertarianism/objectivism. In my opinion, the leap from conservative/liberal to minarchist is much greater than minarchist to an-cap.

 I believe minarchists view issues in pragmatic terms. The anarcho-capitalist position is much better supported by philosophical arguments than pragmatic arguments.

How much success have you had in converting people ?
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#8
afrls

afrls
  • 430 posts
None. But I can tell what irks them.
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#9
Rodzilla_

Rodzilla_
  • 2590 posts

None. But I can tell what irks them.

About what?
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#10
afrls

afrls
  • 430 posts
People aren't generally looking at proofs of philosophy or hearing "taxes are violence".
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#11
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19755 posts
I think that we need to find people who have a latent desire for philosophy, not try and turn everyone into philosophers.
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#12
Nathan

Nathan
  • 13064 posts

I think that we need to find people who have a latent desire for philosophy, not try and turn everyone into philosophers.

Will you be posting that conversation from last night? I didn't get to record it, I wanted to hear it again. 


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#13
MAF

MAF
  • 461 posts

No offense man, but it's not that simple to convert most friends. You first assume that the person already has a grasp of libertarianism/objectivism. In my opinion, the leap from conservative/liberal to minarchist is much greater than minarchist to an-cap.

 I believe minarchists view issues in pragmatic terms. The anarcho-capitalist position is much better supported by philosophical arguments than pragmatic arguments.

I never claimed that it was simple.  One of my friends was basically already there, so the "conversion" wasn't that hard.  My best friend, the one who I purchased UPB for, is a bit more of a struggle.  He seems to agree with the non-aggression principle but is having trouble taking it beyond "but what about the roads".  Fortunately he is being curious and has not really tried to shut my ideas down at all yet.  He is an inquisitive philosophical type, so I'll keep working on him. 


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#14
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19755 posts

That's great!

Can you get your friend to drop by for a skype chat? I'd love to understand the reasons behind his hesitation... 


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