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kaffir

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  1. I didn't leave anything out. I don't give oppressors the "right to oppress" - there is no such thing. It was you, not me, who originally said "To <Libertarians>, everyone has the freedom to do whatever they want". That's not true, and you should stop trying to define Libertarians if you aren't one yourself. Of course Nazis, communists, racists, islamic fascists, etc can't do as they please, if that means murdering Jews, Blacks, homosexuals, infidels, confiscating their property, bombing innocent people. That is not freedom, but force, coercion, and oppression. But... do I think Nazis, communists, racists, and yes even islamic fascists have the right to say/think what they want? to live however they want to? I hate those ideologies with every fiber of my being, but if they don't hurt other people then I must reluctantly say Yes. The tough part about the whole "freedom" concept is that it has to apply equally to people and ideas you don't necessarily like, otherwise it's an empty phrase. Is freedom axiomatic? Maybe not, but the authors of our Declaration of Independence thought it was, and I can live with that. I have no desire to hurt you, kill you, or steal your property. I'm just trying to figure out if Objectivists, given the opportunity, would restrict my freedom. If so, you're merely substituting one form of authoritarianism for another. For me it is. Sorry you feel otherwise. Vote for Bush. Vote however you want to. I'm sure you'll get the kind of government you deserve.
  2. I've googled for the e-text, but it appears it is only available hardcopy. No surprise - I respect that Schwartz, as a good Objectivist, wants to defend his IP vigorously. It's not the money (at 6 bucks for 64 pages it's cheaper than it would cost to xerox the thing) but if Schwartz wants to be included in the discussion, he is welcome to present his views in an open forum. Until then I won't comment on his book, or critiques of it. This reminds me of a humorous incident I had while arguing with a Socialist at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park. I was thumbing through a pamphlet he had printed called "Why men create gods in their image" (or something like that). As an atheist I found the title intriguing. But when I asked if I could have a copy, he told me it would cost me five pounds. I found that funny, so I decided to tweak him and asked "isn't your credo 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'? Well, I need this, and if there's no such thing as private ownership, you should just give it to me!" His response was "Well, one has got to make a living..." I couldn't stop laughing. I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding here of what Libertarianism is all about. No Libertarian I know believes what you've said we believe. It's more along the lines of "My freedom to swing my fist leaves off where your nose begins". Liberty doesn't mean license to tromp all over another individual's property or cause him physical harm. Libertarians recognize the need for police, courts, and a strong standing military, to protect the lives and property of individuals from force and coercion. As near as I can tell, Rand's beef was with Anarchism, not Libertarianism. It would be nice if people would ask Libertarians what a Libertarian is. I've done a little more research on my own since my post. The Left calls us dishonest right wing racists. The Right calls us irresponsible feel-gooders. Ayn Rand calls us a "a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people" who plagiarize her ideas - collectivist hippies. Aside from the uncalled-for ad hominem nature of that assault, it hurts, because as far as I know we've *always* credited Rand for her ideas. I know I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't read Rand's works, and I'm grateful to her for opening my eyes. Exactly. Libertarianism isn't a philosophy. That's why we need Objectivism. We agree that the way to change people is by education and enlightenment, not by enforcing our politics on others. We're just trying to put our beliefs into practice in the best way we know how. I could, as many Libertarians and Objectivists do, dance with the Devil and throw my vote in with Republicans or Democrats as being more "effective". But I couldn't live with that. Both parties have been co-opted by authoritarian Statists who have strayed from the parties' original lofty principles. I may never see a good president elected, but at least I sleep well at night. "Say you're in prison, and you've got a 50% chance of death by lethal injection, a 45% chance of the electric chair, and a 5% chance of escape. Would you vote for Lethal Injection simply because that is the most likely outcome?" - Michael Badnarik "If you tell yourself 'I guess I'll vote for the lesser of two Evils', no matter who wins you still end up with Evil." - Michael Badnarik
  3. It's my perception that Objectivists (including Ayn Rand herself) hold Libertarians in contempt. On the other hand, many Libertarians virtually worship Rand and the ground she walked on, and in fact work to put Objectivist principles into practice in their political lives. So, why the difference?
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