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DonAthos last won the day on July 9

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  1. "It isn't about this at all"? All right, let's review then: The OP (along with the thread title) is not about "comparing governments," but dealing with the difficulties of living in a system where "the majority of people" support policies that -- in some cases -- make actual human life impossible. The first response that happiness received -- that "there is nowhere better than here" -- is not necessarily true. It may be true that there is nowhere better than here for DavidOdden, just as it may be true for me that "there is nothing better to eat than a peanut butter sandwich," but neither of these are universally true, and to say that they are (in the name of "objectivity") is to forget the role that context plays in objective thought. For instance, if happiness could secure the treatments he needs in some other country then it may well be better for him to move to that country to receive those treatments. Is "nowhere better than here"? Not necessarily for happiness, not necessarily in that case. (Note that I am here employing happiness in a completely hypothetical capacity; I've no idea about whether this is likely, or possible, and do not mean to comment on his actual situation.) Then JASKN wondered whether the US is truly evil (or "over-the-top evil") and he concluded that it is not, because he is still somewhat free (he "can still get on the internet and badmouth any branch of the government," and etc.). These comprise the two main responses. (Well... there is also Nicky's "response" of "most board members disagree" and "all the rational people I know can handle reading the news," which, in a better forum, would have been called out well before now; but I have already given him enough attention.) So if the response is, "but it is better here than elsewhere," that may be true (or it may not -- more in a second), but it doesn't actually speak to the matter at hand. If the response is, "things aren't so bad for me; therefore, things aren't so bad for you," then it is an utter failure. Yes, it is possible to evaluate two governments -- or to reason that X is better than Y -- but not without a context. Value requires a valuer, and Singapore (or the United States) may be the best option for some yet not for others. For the sake of further precision (albeit risking a touch of clarity), let me amend that slightly to say that it may be possible to evaluate two governments without a personal context, but not in any meaningful fashion. Evaluation is not some activity disconnected from life -- we evaluate things for a purpose, and that purpose guides and shapes our process of evaluation. If a person "evaluates" two countries from a standpoint outside of his own context, then he may well conclude that "this is the best/better country to live in" and be correct in all cases except for himself. This is pointless at best, and at worst lands the drug smuggler in a Singapore prison for life, and -- as I've imagined it -- spending his time singing the praises of the "relatively free" government there. Besides which, some "comparative" approach does not render the evil actions of any given government, Singapore or the US, less evil; and if we mean to speak to the OP or even simply the title of this thread, it does not necessarily help us to understand how to live in a country where such evil is tolerated or promulgated by our fellow citizens. What value is this comparative approach, then? It appears to be meant as a palliative, because "there is no such place as Galt’s Gulch." But some people are working towards the creation of Galt's Gulch, or something like it, because they do find the present situation intolerable. Those who are content with the status quo have no real reason to struggle against it -- and I mean that as no criticism. But let's not tell others that they must be content, as well, especially when their situation/context is potentially different from our own. For I maintain that those who say that the US is "not so bad" are able to do so, in part, because they have been fortunate in their experiences; there are other people for whom the US is so bad. (They are the people in "The Lottery" whose number has not been drawn... yet.) In point of fact, I do not expect that someone rotting in a Singapore prison for life, for "crimes" which ought not be crimes, will be constructing odes to the supposed relative merits of their system. He will be too intimately familiar with its failures -- and the personal consequences of those failures -- for that. And if you think that's what "objectivity" requires -- for the chained-and-whipped slave in the Antebellum US, say, to praise the US government because of the relative degree of freedom it allows for the people in the North -- then I fear that your approach to both "objectivity" and judgement are mistaken. It is not about assessing things according to some average, or some generic "everyman," or (ahem) "EVERYONE. Equally.", it is about assessing things according to whether they further your personal, individual life and happiness -- and then acting accordingly.
  2. This misses the purpose, and thus the proper means, of evaluation. You do not judge (i.e. evaluate morally) a system, or anything else, "based on how it does by EVERYONE. Equally." The purpose of evaluation is action, and insofar as your actions are meant to benefit the self, your evaluation must be according to the self as well. Is a peanut butter sandwich a healthy snack/meal? It depends. It depends on who you are -- your personal context. If you are deathly allergic to peanuts, then no, a peanut butter sandwich is not healthy. Not for you, not in your situation. The allergic may yet recognize that other people, in other contexts, may eat and enjoy peanuts and peanut butter; but his own evaluation of the healthfulness of eating a peanut butter sandwich is negative, as it must be if evaluation is to perform its role: which is a guide to action for the purpose of living, happiness, etc. An Objectivist sees no conflict between the fact that he is personally affected by a given subject (which is, per "Fact and Value," for instance, all of them) and his ability to assess that subject objectively. What I've described above is objective. What objectivity does not require is some "value of a peanut butter sandwich" for some abstract "everyman" who does not, in fact, even exist. This is why softwareNerd is correct, when he writes: This however... ...is bizarre and has nothing to do with the purpose of evaluation, etc. I imagine someone sitting in a Singapore prison for life (for something which ought not be a crime), singing the praises of their government, because of how it is supposedly better for "EVERYONE. Equally." (than what? Venezuela? is that the standard?) as opposed to the factual destroyer of his actual, one-time-only life on Earth. And yes, sometimes people need direct personal experience to give them perspective, particularly when lacking in any (or all) of information, imagination or empathy.
  3. Come on now. A few house slaves aside, most were denied use of their masters' internet. This has been a sticking point for me, in these kinds of conversations, for a while now. Of course the poster has a personal context relevant to this question. There doesn't exist a person without a personal context, and anyone's answer to this sort of question will necessarily reflect that context. The idea that a question like this can be meaningfully answered (or "interpreted") in some abstract "general 'average person' context" is suspect, at least, and in several discussions I've put to you that assessing the morality of the US legal system, or etc., depends greatly on who you happen to be. If you -- or a loved one -- is rotting in jail due to unjust drug laws, for instance, then it's probably not going to look like such a great system. An "average person" (by which we mean -- what, exactly? white? male? middle-aged?) needs to be able to take this sort of thing into account. It's as though saying that the society in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" wasn't so bad... so long as your number doesn't come up. And perhaps it's equally true that the person who feels the scourge of society should remember that things aren't so bad for many others in the community, but I guess it's sensible that we will all be biased towards our own experiences, for better or worse. The slave in a Roman mine won't be greatly heartened to know, I don't expect, that his forced labor furnishes someone else's villa. So if we're insisting on someone like happiness providing "personal context," then maybe the folks who constantly come in with "this country and its laws aren't so bad" also need to provide their personal reminder of "for me, in my situation." When we recognize that there yet remains institutionalized injustice, in our system or any other, that means that real evil is being visited upon some actual person. If you can live well enough with the tax laws, or whatever, then you can and more power to you, but let's not neglect the fact that not everyone emerges unscathed.
  4. DonAthos

    Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    At present, this is my position. I understood your humor, and I appreciate it. Humor is a good thing. But also... you know, as I continue to try to peel back the layers of things like evasion, and proper discussion, and so forth, I've become aware of some of the various ways we sometimes go wrong, or prevent ourselves from drawing some pertinent conclusion, or etc. One of the things we can hear, I am convinced, in an argument that "what you are saying is wrong (or here: 'statist')" is instead "there is something deficient about you (here: 'you are a statist' or even 'you are evil')." Sometimes that's no mistake in understanding; sometimes that's truly what's intended, and sometimes it is even stated explicitly. But in my continued opinion, this has the effect of setting up obstacles to understanding. If we hear our "opponent" saying "you are a statist," and we know that this is not true of ourselves, it may disincline us to give the nuance of their arguments much consideration. (Let alone "you are evil," which I frankly believe is a sentiment that no fundamentally rational person is going to take seriously. Consequently, I think that sort of rhetoric tends to shortcircuit debate altogether.) This is why I endeavor to be clear in what I'm contending -- and to either clarify or correct earlier statements, where necessary, in the process. Given the thrust of your humor, especially, I thought it necessary to state outright that I do not think that you are a statist, but the arguments that you've made with respect to rights throughout this thread -- yes, I believe that amounts to statism. I think that the arguments you've made, at least at times, leave individual rights to be a meaningless concept, and I have endeavored to demonstrate why (whether or not I have yet done so to your satisfaction). With respect, I'd earlier decided to try to step back from this conversation for a while. You'd then asked some questions about whether one has the right to respond to theft, outside of some established government, and I responded in some fashion (though not yet so fully or directly as I would otherwise like), and then, too, regarding some pertinent quotes by Rand and Peikoff... but I still don't know whether I wish to revisit, let alone recapitulate, the several arguments already made. At the moment -- whether this makes me a "purist" in any sense (though I doubt it) -- I do contend that force may only be used in response to the initiation of force; if that is inconsistent with your position, then we remain at issue, but I can be content with this impasse for the time being. Perhaps I will sometime be motivated to return to the breach. You always have the right to change your mind; it need not be reserved. And for the sake of further clarity, you should know that I do not consider myself as contending with you, so much, as with the arguments you've presented. When I take note of some change or inconsistency in your argument (as I see it), it is not for the sake of personal impeachment, but to highlight the discrepancy for the sake of further examination or elaboration. If you were to abandon your current arguments tomorrow and agree unreservedly with me, it would not satisfy me any more or less than my current ability to establish my point of view to my own satisfaction (or not much more, at least; I'm no saint). At that point, I would only hope that we were both now correct, and that you had not abandoned your case too quickly...
  5. DonAthos

    Dealing with the Hostile Reader

    Everything exists within some context. These posts, too. Presumably we compose them and post them for some purpose -- to achieve some effect in the world. And so I wonder, what do the people behind these posts intend to achieve, here and now? I'm gratified to have been raised as a positive example in the OP. I'm certain I don't always deserve praise, but I do honestly try my best to be a productive member of this community. I believe strongly in ideas, in truth, in reason -- and also in the potential value of debate, discussion, argument. I think that this community has the potential to foster such argument that leads the individuals who participate in it (and perhaps others, too) closer to truth, to right ideas, to a philosophy of reason. But to do this -- if it is our end -- we must take care to structure the community to that end. We must treat the community as a machine, designed according to the function we intend it to serve, and we must tailor our own contributions accordingly. "Judge, and prepare to be judged," yes. But the expression of such judgement (whether a particular judgement is expressed at all, and then its particular manner) is a separate question. If we mean to make this community the best it can be (according to the standard of fostering the sort of discussion that may lead individuals to truth), then we must give attention as well to how and when we express our judgements of one another, and we must continue to ask the question -- does this particular communication further the goals we've set for this community? Personally, when I look at a thread like this, I see something of a mistake... or perhaps it is better seen as an opportunity for further reflection and improvement. Discussing the manner by which we communicate with one another is important. I don't mean to dissuade such discussions, at all, and I have started more than one thread myself in an attempt to raise them (as, for example, here and here). Yet they are fraught and potentially explosive, especially (as is only natural/fitting) when drawing upon the examples of experiences with others on this very board. None of this is easy, and I don't mean to claim that I have it figured out. I still struggle with it, I'm still learning, and I make mistakes in this regard -- all the time. But I would like to try to aim us more towards trying to understand one another, than the kinds of insulting, shunning, blocking, banning, and so forth, that has characterized the still-young Objectivist community, and, imo, made it mostly impotent.
  6. DonAthos

    A Complex Standard of Value

    Ill-health is not the "introduction of a mind/body dichotomy." It could be evasion, which is not recommended. It could also be a choice -- to shorten one's lifespan (or to risk such a shortening, at the very least) for the gain of values along the way. I'm not going to argue the morality of such a choice here and now, but I've argued it elsewhere, many times, including the thread I'd already linked in an earlier post. Suffice it to say that some people are willing to experience a shorter life, if, in their opinion, it is a richer/better life. Whatever sort of choice that is, and whether you agree or disagree with it, it is not evasion.
  7. DonAthos

    A Complex Standard of Value

    Yes -- fat people can be happy, productive and rational. (For that matter, a happy, productive life is not often stumbled into by whim, or on accident...) And the larger point is that, in prioritizing values according to individual interests and context (including time spent exercising, for instance), we should not expect rational people to value the same things, or even where commonalities exist, not necessarily to the same degree.
  8. DonAthos

    The Law of Identity

    I don't believe that the law of identity, as such, has much to say about anything particular. It says that a thing is what it is (and that it is not what it is not), but it makes no further demands as to what a thing is or ought to be. With that said, does my identity include how I was made? I think so. I think my identity sensibly includes everything that is true about me: I am everything that I am, and my history is a part of that. Insofar as one's DNA is fundamental to all of one's physical being, I'd say that there is no "differentiation" between DNA and the self... except that the self (including "impulses" as normally understood) is experienced on a "higher level," in terms of thoughts and emotions and sensations and etc. Objectivism as a philosophy addresses itself to those thoughts and emotions and sensations and the stuff of living as a human. If your contention is that DNA makes some other demand on us through other means, then I guess that's the matter that needs to be investigated, though I would consider myself skeptical... just as I would be skeptical if, say, someone made a claim that, because we are composed of atoms, we should all be buzzing around like electrons. If you're saying that the core Objectivist literature doesn't fully address itself to everything that people routinely desire or need, I heartily agree. There's much, much more to be said and written and investigated (and I think Rand said as much, as well) -- and then any given individual must discover all of this for himself, regardless of what's been written by others. Are people "social/political animals"? Is there a need for intimacy? I'd say so. There's much value in family, too, or potentially so. (For context, I'm married and I have a child.) But it's still another kind of claim to make that people owe something to their DNA, or their family line, or to future generations, or etc. The pleasures I take in both intimacy and family are selfish; I pursue them fundamentally for the sake of enjoying my own singular experience of life on earth, not because I believe myself to be beholden to humanity's past -- or future. Yes, there's a lot of nonsense on the topic... which is only to be expected, I suppose, given how close the topic of procreation strikes at the heart of humanity. It's bound to draw out people's most highly charged responses, for better and worse. What is the "current Objectivist stance on procreation"? I'm asking honestly; as far as I'm concerned, Objectivism has no stance on procreation, as such, neither encouraging nor discouraging, but arguing that people should be free to pursue their own interests. If you find value in fighting for the world of 12017 CE, and think that your procreative decisions today speak to that far future, then I'm not going to try to talk you out of it... But in my experience, fighting for the next hundred years or so (or hell, the next few years, the next month, or with a five year old, a single night's rest) is plenty to keep me occupied.
  9. DonAthos

    A Complex Standard of Value

    If I were to take Peikoff literally in "Fact and Value," I'd say that everything is an objective factor to your enjoyment of life. Even if we consider that to be an overreach (or even a misinterpretation on my part), I think there's some sense to it. Everything is at least potentially an objective factor to your enjoyment of life, even those things you choose to take no notice of (and equally I mean you, personally; Nerian). Even those things of which you are utterly unaware. Yet people are limited in many ways. We are limited in our time and money and energy, our awareness and capacity to focus, etc. The resource that Howard Roark spends on architecture is resource he does not have to spend on other things, including things that are also objective factors to his enjoyment of life, and possibly including things that have "important and inescapable effects" on his quality of life. People make choices in this regard, prioritizing one thing over another, and the calculus involved (to the chagrin of many Objectivists, for some reason) is deeply personal. (Sometimes Objectivists aggrieved by this notion will describe the result as "subjective," but I prefer "individual.") The object of your criticism, in my opinion, are those who prioritize in different ways than you do (as against those who act out of ignorance, or knowingly against their own interests, e.g. altruistically). For after all, I'd guess that these Objectivists do not pay zero attention to health or fashion -- if that were literally true, they couldn't survive for long at all, given that human health requires constant maintenance... and then you would probably know them when they stepped out of the house, if they were naked, or wearing blankets, or what-not. Some thought is given to health, insofar some choices are being made for the purpose of longevity, or to avoid sickness, etc., and some thought is given to fashion, insofar some choices are being made as to dress, though perhaps not to the degree you would select for yourself in either area. The stereotypical image for fashion in this regard, perhaps, is the "absent-minded professor" who cannot be bothered to match his socks, but there we can see the very thing I'm talking about: he is so focused, so absorbed in his pursuits and passions that he has nothing left for caring about what he has on his feet. (Or not quite "nothing," again, given that he has managed to put something on his feet, after all, and presumably for some purpose.) You may believe that he's making a bad choice, caring insufficiently about how he "presents himself in society" -- and maybe, if you could make the case to him, he'd even agree -- but I think it's just as likely, at the least, that he would dismiss you as not caring sufficiently for his work, or for wasting your own time on how you're dressed versus other, more important pursuits. ("More important" from his perspective, you understand.) As for "eating oneself into obesity," it seems my destiny on this board to go to bat for the value of eating ice cream, and associated pleasures, time and again. (You and I have been involved in threads where I've already expressed some of this, I know, but here is a recent discussion touching on some of these issues.) While I wouldn't recommend "obesity," as such, it cannot be denied that there is some potential cost to a life of eating ice cream, or cheesecake, or etc. Are there people we would describe as "fat" or "obese" (which, I may be mistaken, but I believe is a medical term with objective criteria) who can lead happy, productive lives? As much as you may not be able to fathom such a thing, I think so. At the same time, are there some results so dire and inimical to what we'd otherwise describe as "the good life" that, without knowing anything else, we may condemn them as evidence of immorality? Perhaps. The people who wind up the focus of documentaries about being 900 pounds, and unable to get out of bed, come to mind. But short of that kind of extremity, I think it's unjust and dangerous to judge the choices of others sans their personal context, especially along the sorts of lines you've suggested: those insufficiently fashion-minded, etc. That isn't judgment so much as it is judgmentalism.
  10. DonAthos

    A Complex Standard of Value

    I don't mean to address, let alone take issue with, your entire thesis, but I wanted to comment on this part... I think it's a mistake to expect that Objectivists will share the same sorts of interests. While I believe that there are some mistakes habitually made with respect to "enjoying oneself" (based on a widespread misreading/misunderstanding of "life as the standard of value"), which can potentially result in some of what you're talking about, even if we all shared the same understanding of the same fundamental standard, there would still be Objectivists who would be more or less into fitness, more or less into fashion, more or less into intellectual pursuits, etc. There would still be Objectivists that wouldn't "make sense" to you in that way (just as you would not make sense to others). It's like: take architecture. Not really a big deal for me. Howard Roark and I may have some awkward moments at a cocktail party, searching for a topic of conversation. But that's okay: I respect his passion for that pursuit, even though I do not share it.
  11. DonAthos

    The Law of Identity

    You bring a fascinating perspective to this discussion, and I am thankful for it. That said, I'd like to highlight this (quoted portion), because I believe it says something with which I disagree strongly. I have found associated with discussions of transgenderism and gender -- and things regarding man's "nature" more generally -- that several people finally wind up coming to the conclusion that people (or women more specifically) have some sort of moral duty to bear children. I think this is both wrong in itself, and it points to some earlier error with respect to conceptualizing morality. An individual's only moral duty is to himself (or herself) and to his own happiness. He owes nothing to evolution, nor to his family line, nor to future generations. That a person has some physical architecture to have children -- or do anything else -- does not make it some moral imperative to have children, and it does not make it immoral to choose not to have children.
  12. DonAthos


    Well, that's half the battle. I apologize, but I'm not certain I understand your rephrasings of my question -- or whether you're suggesting an answer. Do you mean to say that you believe "a concrete" refers to something which may be considered as a separate thing (whether or not it is "metaphysically separable," such as length)? Goodness, I hope not. I'll be frank -- I often find conversations like these to be rather dense, as my response here will serve to demonstrate. (Or maybe I find myself to be dense; I don't know that I could tell the difference.) But can I probe your position, to attempt to clarify things for myself? Are you saying that Rand's position is that we may only form concepts (or abstract) according to what we've encountered ("the particular, delimited set of observations which we've accumulated thus far") and that you disagree? If our statements of reality are not based strictly upon the observations we've made (and also bound to those same observations), to what other source could we appeal? I frankly don't know what any of this is addressing; are we discussing whether minds are similar to each other, or the difficulties in inferring the consciousness of others? That seems like a separate conversation, though I wasn't aware that any of that was in contention. But maybe it relates; I don't understand your meaning. How does it help to answer the question of mine you've quoted -- "what exactly do we mean by 'a concrete'?" So it looks like you're saying that a concrete is a "particular thing qua particular thing"? All right, again, what does that mean? How do I recognize when something is a "concrete" versus when it is not (if anything can exist without also being "concrete")? Because the claim has been made that some things are not concrete, yes? Eiuol seems to have made that claim directly. So to assess his claim, it would help me to understand what constitutes a "concrete." Or is "concreteness" an... epistemological stance, as I had inferred from dream_weaver's reply? (I hate to use terminology like this -- it almost always seems to muddle more than clarify -- but please bear with me.) Some given concept or emotion, for instance, is a "concrete," not because it has "physical extension" -- not because it may somehow be separated from the mind which holds it metaphysically/in actuality -- but because we can regard it as something distinct. Is "concreteness" (like, perhaps, "particularity") simply a way of considering a thing? Is that your meaning for the term?
  13. DonAthos

    Are contradictions meaningful

    There's a lot in this thread, and what I have to say is not really meant to comment on anyone else's meaning -- I don't know exactly how it fits, to be honest -- but... If my five-year-old tells me that there's a monster in her closet, it is certainly false. But I'm not as certain that her statement is rightly described as "meaningless." Perhaps some sort of analysis of the terms alone is devoid of meaning? I take this to be the substance of some other opinions, at least. But actual human communication takes place in a context, and there may (or arguably must) be meaning in my daughter making the statement. Perhaps she means to communicate that she is afraid, or is bothered by something else in her life (e.g. something she saw on a tv show), or has mistaken some shadow, or that she craves attention, or wants to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed, or so forth. (Or hell, maybe there isn't a monster, per se, but an actual intruder.) This recognition is the difference between responding to her with interest and empathy, versus deciding "her statement is meaningless, therefore, no action is warranted," or even "no action is morally permissible," which, I would argue, would be poor parenting. This is also true (and perhaps more readily seen) in earlier life: a baby's gibberish has no content, analyzed literally, but I would not be comfortable saying that the baby's gibberish is meaningless; it does not arise out of nowhere, for no reason, and that context represents the very things that a parent is pressed to determine -- the meaning of the baby's cry (which is made famously hard because there is no particular relationship between the meaning of the cry, and its literal content). And then, I think this is true of later life, as well (though, perhaps ironically, harder to diagnose). Even people who are not babies and not five-year-olds sometimes (or regularly) express things without intending to express them, or even without understanding their own expression, and our false statements thereby reveal us -- our thoughts, emotions, interests, misunderstandings, etc. -- and in those ways are meaningful. Now as I said initially, my thoughts on this subject may run oblique to those expressed by others', or even tangential. I don't intend to argue with anything, exactly, but when I consider "contradictions" in the widest possible context I can (which, in this case, is to say: offered as a statement in the context of some situation -- and this can include an authored statement in a text, or anything else; come to think of it, it is also the case with a thought that a person has, even if not stated aloud -- it is still "stated" to the self, for some reason), I find that they have something I would call "meaning."
  14. DonAthos


    I guess I'll ask -- what exactly do we mean by "a concrete"?
  15. DonAthos

    Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    Perhaps. Or perhaps there was a contradiction within their arguments that they did not recognize. We can further observe that my identification of your arguments as statist (or the results of your arguments as statism) are not the equivalent of my identifying you as a statist -- though this remains a possibility for the future; if I decided that Rand and Peikoff made some mistake with respect to subpoena, I would not necessarily decide that they were statists or arguing for statism, either. Though also, at some point, I might. If "in practical terms, it matters not at all," then I am uncertain about the value of trying to distinguish between all of these different constructions. You don't have a right to use violence, but it is morally proper to do so? You're not "in society," yet you're dealing with other people? I don't see the point to drawing such distinctions, even if I could agree that such distinctions are sensible, and thus I question the meaning/intention of doing so. If it is morally proper that I do something, if it is "legitimate" in any practical or earthly sense that we would endorse, if it is my means of securing my life, in reason, then yes, I affirm that I have the right to do it. If I am interacting with other people to any extent, that is society enough. (If I am truly isolated from others -- alone on a desert island -- then it's true that it would be unnecessary to talk about rights, in that context, as they would not be at issue; but I would still have rights, which would then apply in the event that I subsequently deal with other people.) Just to note, I think this takes a different approach than has thus far been taken in the thread, and one that I've been considering for a little while, as well. I've grown to suspect that if subpoena is appropriate in any manner, this may be the way to get there. This, however, reflects the approach you've taken (at times, at least), and I continue to disagree with it, for all of the reasons already given. And this I continue to find utterly ad hoc, and ultimately inconsistent with... well, the rest of the Objectivist Politics. It is interesting to consider how one precisely "signs up" for a particular government, and whether one may "opt out," and how... But as far as I'm concerned, this is indeed an argument for statism, whether Peikoff is aware of it or not; it is a concession of everything important -- the rest is just a matter of detail and time. I don't know how he reconciles this with Rand's position on voluntary taxation, or if he makes the attempt (or even sees the need), but if he believes that subpoena/jury duty ought to be compulsory* because "you pay the cost," then it seems to me like compulsory taxation ought not be far behind... or in front, actually, being a more literal incarnation of "the cost." (And, yes, the draft.) ______________________ * I'm basing my response solely on the quotes and commentary provided.