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The way I see it is this. I am a connesuier of ice cream[objectivist]who wants vanilla with color sprinkles and caramel toppings[objectivist style of living], I go into the ice cream shop[voting booth] and the vendor[punch card] has given me several options; rat poison flavored ice cream[republican party], rattlesnake venom flavored ice cream [democrat party], cyanide flavored ice cream [green party] and vanilla with chocolate sprinkles and chocolate syrup[Libertarian party].

Except in this analogy, the LP is digitalis-laced vanilla ice cream with arsenic sprinkles.

Anarchism is worse than theocracy, as the Dark Ages were worse than the Middle Ages.

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Oh I see what he means now. I was confusing his stance with other things he wrote. David, I misunderstood.

No prob. There are perils to mixing literal arguments with reductio ad absurdum arguments. So is that what the Ninja emoticon is supposed to signal?

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Having a snorting, dismissing attitude and saying that there's always room for reinterpretation basically says "Problems of jurisprudence are trivial and will be swept away after the revolution".
Perhaps I am now guilty of some bad wording of my own ( :P ). I, too, want objective law to be established. My inquiries about objectivist attorneys working on this were not attempts to challenge this position, but simply to learn more.

I agree that the government should not make it a crime to drink, hire a whore, smoke tobacco or weed, or even read Kant. But the reason is not that "these acts do not affect anyone else". It is important to not base your decisions about rights on a broken foundation, and this is a broken foundation...Their failure here is clear -- they fail to distinguish between the wrong morality, and any morality. A society without any morality has no basis for protecting the rights of individuals.

Ok, now I understand and I agree. Thank you.

I used to find myself in agreement with the Republican Party ... I don't care if they talk the best talk in town: they all talk trash.

You must be in quite a pickle at the voting booth. I think I'll check out the various threads on "How should objectivists vote?" to see how others resolve these conflicts.

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So why is ARI still vehemently opposed to the Libertarian Party? The first objection I identified above seems to me to no longer apply. Since I don't have the luxury here of a real-time dialogue, I will move on to the second objection identified above.

I guess this is one of those situation where you have to actually see the sausage being made. I was an executive officer of a state LP back in the early 90s. Whether of not Rand & co knew it, they were spot-on in their warning that they were anti-intellectual.

I could go on for hours about the anti-intellectual items I encountered as a matter of course, rather than the exception. The best two examples I can come up that sum up them in my experience was:

One guy who I was attempting to pursuade to vote for something. My argument was a no-brainer. Easy to follow logic. Simple issue. He was curiously silent during my lobbying effort. It was evident I was getting nowhere with him wherein I asked him: "Given what I've logically laid out, why would you consider voting the other way?"

His beamed answer: "Because I can!"

I asked one fellow executive once: "Why is there such hostility to Ayn Rand." After what appeared to be a thougtful reflection, he replied: "Because she's a bitch!"

I wish I could point to the reason why that mindset made up 75% of my dealings with the party. About 1/4 of the members were "normal people". 1/4 were outcasts who are "trying Libertarinism now". 1/4 are there because they think the big bad Religious Monster is coming to take over the US govt. and 1/4 are just plain insane. That said tongue in cheek, it's pretty damn accurate during my tenure.

I thankfully washed my hands of them long ago.

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I would not vote for a Libertarian precisely because they are supposedly capitalists. I say "supposedly" because they have no valid philosophical premise to back up their advocacy. They have a mish-mash of ideas, many of which are inimical to an actual capitalist political system being actualized. We have enough trouble with people who mistakenly claim to be capitalists without adding the wingnut variety. I don't care to have to add their bad philosophy to the ones I'm already arguing against.

Libertarians give capitalism a bad name. At least with the major parties, one has an historical context within which to argue.

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The position on secession is pretty problematic, as is: "We recognize the right to political secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals". This allows a dictatorship within the US to secede to immunize itself from corrective action by the US government.

But surely prohibitions on secession allow the larger nation-state to immunize itself from accomodating the preferences of dissident regions -- including those which are pro-freedom (like the late Republic of Biafra). May we assume that you would have no objections to secession if it meant a net increase in the liberty of the residents of the breakaway territory?

  In a truly free, Objective government, why would anyone want to secede in the first place?  Perhaps this statement was included to please the anarchists.

If the state in question were something other than "a truly free, Objective government," would you then support the right of secession? And what if the state merely claimed that it was "a truly free, Objective government," but in fact was not? In a dispute between a self-described “free Objectivist government” and secessionist Objectivist rebels, why should we necessarily side with those in power? Consider, also, the possibility of a state which acts in a moral fashion (i.e. according to the Objectivist ethics), but is run foolishly or inefficiently or imposes unreasonably high contract fees (or whatever else its means is of raising revenue are). Why shouldn’t secession be permitted in such circumstances?

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May we assume that you would have no objections to secession if it meant a net increase in the liberty of the residents of the breakaway territory?

You should assume that I'd like secession to be mandatory under those circumstances.

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Interviewer: What do you think about mandatory vaccination ?

Badnarik: You bring the needle, I'll bring my .45, and we'll see who makes the bigger hole.

This doesn't strike me as a "presidential" response. Would you want this guy to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. military ?

I don't believe Badnarik is seriously trying to win. I think he's just using his campaign to "spread Libertarianism" and expects to lose. One frustrated Libertarian Senatorial candidate refers to the party as the "Lositarian Party". I think he's got a point.

The Libertarian presidential candidate always promises, if elected, to pardon everyone in prison as a result of drug laws. As President, he could do this, but what would this sudden upsurge of unemployed do to the job market ? He won't be able to single-handedly change the law, so what's he going to do, do massive pardons once a week as new violators are caught ?

They just don't seem serious. It's sad, because I really would like to have a reasonable choice to vote for besides Bush or Kerry.

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The Libertarian presidential candidate always promises, if elected, to pardon everyone in prison as a result of drug laws. As President, he could do this, but what would this sudden upsurge of unemployed do to the job market ?

Is it your position that keeping unemployment statistically low is more important than freeing people from unjust imprisonment? Why not let the poor slob rotting in jail worry about his own livelihood? Better yet, why not say to him, "Say, if you caan't find work in the marketplace, you can always come back and live here at taxpayers' expense!"

He won't be able to single-handedly change the law, so what's he going to do, do massive pardons once a week as new violators are caught ?

Which is worse: massive pardons once a week or massive arrests of innocent people every week?

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Is it your position that keeping unemployment statistically low is more important than freeing people from unjust imprisonment?  Why not let the poor slob rotting in jail worry about his own livelihood?  Better yet, why not say to him, "Say, if you caan't find work in the marketplace, you can always come back and live here at taxpayers' expense!"

Which is worse:  massive pardons once a week or massive arrests of innocent people every week?

I'm trying to point out that this is not a position statement that can be taken seriously.

I think there are limits on to how many people and how frequently the president can grant pardons. I think Clinton was only able to pardon a few of his terrorist friends near the end of his term, but maybe these were just the ones who had enough money to make it worth his taking the risk.

While he's not too far from it these days, the president is still not a dictator.

He can't exercise unlimited power to change the law.

I think I remember Peikoff pointing out that the only solution to today's problems are philosophical - better philosophy has to motivate more people in all branches of government, as well as in all areas of our society.

If an Objectivist were to get elected president, he would soon either resign or commit suicide. Politics is an expression of philosophy, not a means of changing it.

There's still the problem that this kind of a radical shift (pardoning all "drug offenders") would create real, objective damage to the incomes of people currently working that would be competing for the jobs these newly-freed people would go after.

Libertarians seem to promote radical change without any plans to deal with the consequences.

Of course, many Democrats do the same thing. With Democrats, however, at least there's a history of how they deal with power to see that they can actually come up with programs that don't immediately result in chaos and destruction.

Libertarians don't have this history, so they should be advocating ideas that seem more practical, not less.

I'd like to see candidates who espouse ideas more like those in chapter 20 of George Reisman's Capitalism .

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I think there are limits on to how many people and how frequently the president can grant pardons.

Really? What part of the Constitution says that?

I think I remember Peikoff pointing out that the only solution to today's problems are philosophical - better philosophy has to motivate more people in all branches of government, as well as in all areas of our society.

If an Objectivist were to get elected president, he would soon either resign or commit suicide. Politics is an expression of philosophy, not a means of changing it.

Fine. But if Badnarik or someone of his beliefs should gain the presidency, it certainly would suggest that belief in laissez faire was not limited to a small portion of the electorate.

There's still the problem that this kind of a radical shift (pardoning all "drug offenders") would create real, objective damage to the incomes of people currently working that would be competing for the jobs these newly-freed people would go after.

I didn't know that placing limits on the number of entrants to the job market was one of the proper functions of government -- especially when those limits are enforced by keeping thousands of innocent people in prison. If Nazi Germany had been liberated in 1938, would it have been appropriate for the new German government to maintain the existing concentration camps on the grounds that freeing the inmates would glut the labor market? We may also be ignoring an important economic truth here: it is very costly for the government to keep thousands of people in prison. The money it takes to incarcerate drug offenders is ultimately diverted from the private sector, which would otherwise have put the money to work providing people with the goods and services they actually want -- and thereby creating job opportunities for thousands.

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Charlotte,

As for the pardoning of innocents, I agree with PossiblyParanoid that we shouldn't haphazardly reverse laws without some plan for the transition. Think about welfare and social security: It is wrong to force someone to pay for another's health and retirement, but eliminating them now would be disasterous. People are dependent on these programs and cannot easily switch to private charity and private retirement accounts. This is not an act of altruism, it's just a recognition of the reality of the situation.

And if I might backtrack to something you said earlier,

And what if the state merely claimed that it was "a truly free, Objective government," but in fact was not? In a dispute between a self-described “free Objectivist government” and secessionist Objectivist rebels, why should we necessarily side with those in power? Consider, also, the possibility of a state which acts in a moral fashion (i.e. according to the Objectivist ethics), but is run foolishly or inefficiently or imposes unreasonably high contract fees (or whatever else its means is of raising revenue are). Why shouldn’t secession be permitted in such circumstances?

This feels somewhat subjectivist to me. If the state claimed to be Objectivist but wasn't, then the objective truth is that it isn't. In a dispute between a self-described Objectivist gov't and secessionist Objectivist rebels, we should side with whoever is truly Objectivist. If an Objectivist state really does protect individual rights, secession should never be permitted. Unreasonably high contract fees or inefficient operation can and should be solved through the electoral process (that's what it's for).

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As for the pardoning of innocents, I agree with PossiblyParanoid that we shouldn't haphazardly reverse laws without some plan for the transition. Think about welfare and social security: It is wrong to force someone to pay for another's health and retirement, but eliminating them now would be disasterous. People are dependent on these programs and cannot easily switch to private charity and private retirement accounts. This is not an act of altruism, it's just a recognition of the reality of the situation.

Recognizing reality also means acknowledging moral truths. Apparently, it is your position that Objectivists elected to office should to some degree maintain the current welfare state -- for the benefit of the class of tax parasites. Of course, government doesn’t create wealth; it merely takes it from someone else. So would it be proper for Objectivist office holders to continue the practice of imprisoning people who refuse to give up a portion of their income to the state? And perhaps you won’t mind answering the question I posed earlier: If Nazi Germany had been liberated in 1938, would it have been appropriate for the new German government to maintain the existing concentration camps on the grounds that freeing the inmates would glut the labor market?

If the state claimed to be Objectivist but wasn't, then the objective truth is that it isn't. In a dispute between a self-described Objectivist gov't and secessionist Objectivist rebels, we should side with whoever is truly Objectivist. If an Objectivist state really does protect individual rights, secession should never be permitted. Unreasonably high contract fees or inefficient operation can and should be solved through the electoral process (that's what it's for).

I’m afraid that this does not clear up the issue. What if a certain province complains that the central Objectivist government is not doing a good enough job protecting individual rights in the province? The secessionists might argue, with good reason, that their own breakaway government would be more vigilant and effective in preventing crime. In such a case, there is no reason why the larger state should not wish to let the dissident territory go its own way – unless it was purely the desire to continue to milk the province for its tax revenue. And why is it necessarily the case that this matter must be decided through the electoral process in the larger political entity? It may well be that relative to the other provinces, the dissident province contributes a larger portion of tax revenue but gets fewer government services in return. In such a case the electorate of the larger state would be net tax consumers and have little incentive to vote to give up a valuable tax cow.

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I’m afraid that this does not clear up the issue.  What if a certain province complains that the central Objectivist government is not doing a good enough job protecting individual rights in the province?  The secessionists might argue, with good reason, that their own breakaway government would be more vigilant and effective in preventing crime.  In such a case, there is no reason why the larger state should not wish to let the dissident territory go its own way ...

I'm afraid that this does not clear up the issue, either. What if a certain county in the province complains....And then what if a city in the county complains.... And then what if a neighborhood in the city complains...And then what if the people on my block complain...And then what if I complain? (I suppose someone's teenage son could also complain and decide to secede his room). So if we all secede, what's left?

Ooops.

At which point everyone looks around and announces in unison, "Uh, oh, we'd better get a gov't back real quick."

Secession is justified on one and only one ground: that a gov't has become an intolerable violator of rights and *there is no rational mechanism for changing it*. That was the basis for the American Revolution - that combined with the fact that they intended to establish a gov't based on individual rights. (Mere secession in and of itself, say, to uphold slavery - as in the South - is not justified. And it is notable that the LP Platform doesn't mention that small detail as it also doesn't qualify "the right to self-determination", thereby making as much allowance for Castro's Cuba as the American Revolution).

Fred Weiss

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Secession is justified on one and only one ground: that a gov't has become an intolerable violator of rights and *there is no rational mechanism for changing it*.

Gee, I hate to get started on something and then disappear for a week, but I gotta ask what you mean by "secession". Did former Kanawha, now West Virginia, secede in your sense from Virginia, and did Staten Island secede from New York City? If the UK or some other country in the EU finds that things are not working out for them and they withdraw from the EU, is that a secession?

I would agree with your statement only for violent secession. Unless you want to amplify on what constitutes an intolerable violation of rights.

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I'm afraid that this does not clear up the issue, either. What if a certain county in the province complains....And then what if a city in the county complains.... And then what if a neighborhood in the city complains...And then what if the people on my block complain...And then what if I complain? (I suppose someone's teenage son could also complain and decide to secede his room). So if we all secede, what's left?

Ooops.

At which point everyone looks around and announces in unison, "Uh, oh, we'd better get a gov't back real quick."

Secession is justified on one and only one ground: that a gov't has become an intolerable violator of rights and *there is no rational mechanism for changing it*. That was the basis for the American Revolution - that combined with the fact that they intended to establish a gov't based on individual rights. (Mere secession in and of itself, say, to uphold slavery - as in the South - is not justified. And it is notable that the LP Platform doesn't mention that small detail as it also doesn't qualify "the right to self-determination", thereby making as much allowance for Castro's Cuba as the American Revolution).

Fred Weiss

Fred does have a most unique and entertaining way to make a great point, which I quoted in its entirety because it is deserving of being seen again. The Libertarian position is most often reduced to anarchy because that is the fundamental premise underlying their positions, positions devoid of both an intellectual and moral foundation. Scratch a Libertarian deeply enough and you will usually find an anarchist, whether he or she realizes it, or not.

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I haven't been keeping up with the arguments make since Charlotte entered the scene, but at this point it might be logical to begin a new thread on Secession.

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I'm afraid that this does not clear up the issue, either. What if a certain county in the province complains....And then what if a city in the county complains.... And then what if a neighborhood in the city complains...And then what if the people on my block complain...And then what if I complain? (I suppose someone's teenage son could also complain and decide to secede his room). So if we all secede, what's left?

Ooops.

Tell me, if the government is doing such a splendid job protecting individual rights, why on earth would so many regions and so many people want to secede from it?

At which point everyone looks around and announces in unison, "Uh, oh, we'd better get a gov't back real quick."

Is that a problem? I don’t know of any government which has had a policy of refusing to renew union with a repentant breakaway province.

Secession is justified on one and only one ground: that a gov't has become an intolerable violator of rights and *there is no rational mechanism for changing it*.

I would like to see some proof for this assertion. Why is mere inefficiency not grounds for secession? After all, if the central government is failing at the basic task of protecting rights, then the secessionist province would be justified in sundering its ties on the basis of self-defense. Furthermore, why should electoral politics be regarded as a more “rational mechanism” for change than secession? I need not point out that secession can be accomplished peacefully. In 1905, Norway seceded from Sweden without bloodshed.

Fred does have a most unique and entertaining way to make a great point, which I quoted in its entirety because it is deserving of being seen again. The Libertarian position is most often reduced to anarchy because that is the fundamental premise underlying their positions, positions devoid of both an intellectual and moral    foundation.

Very well. What is the intellectual and moral foundation for denying the people of a province the right to establish a separate and freer government?

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Tell me, if the government is doing such a splendid job protecting individual rights, why on earth would so many regions and so many people want to secede from it?

I wasn't aware that there were so many regions/people wanting to secede - or, more fundamentally, that they want to secede in the name of protecting individual rights. The South wanted to secede but it could hardly be considered as in the name of individual rights.

The problem isn't secession and secession solves nothing fundamentally without the proper philosophical premises to justify it. If the proper philosophical premises exist in a culture, then a gov't will impliment them and there would be no rationale for secession. If the proper philosophical premises do not exist, then secession solves nothing. Or, to put it in its most basic form: you can't escape from the philosophy guiding a culture.

So, if we achieve a rational culture and the rational gov't to accompany it, then what reason would there be to secede from it - unless it were to impliment irrationality? If a gov't isn't acting "efficiently" in protecting rights, whatever that might mean in a particular instance, then that particular issue can easily be addressed - again, assuming a rational culture. Why would a rational culture not want their rights protected efficiently? (If there is any sure bet way to get elected in the United States, it's on a platform of being "tough on crime").

Fred Weiss

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I wasn't aware that there were so many regions/people wanting to secede –

You mentioned a county, a city, a neighborhood and a block.

. . . or, more fundamentally, that they want to secede in the name of protecting individual rights. The South wanted to secede but it could hardly be considered as in the name of individual rights.

You responded to a post in which I wrote, “The secessionists might argue, with good reason, that their own breakaway government would be more vigilant and effective in preventing crime. In such a case, there is no reason why the larger state should not wish to let the dissident territory go its own way. . .” So the question I am raising is, why can’t a territory secede on the grounds that its own government could more efficiently and effectively protect individual rights?

The problem isn't secession and secession solves nothing fundamentally without the proper philosophical premises to justify it. If the proper philosophical premises exist in a culture, then a gov't will impliment them and there would be no rationale for secession.

Your conclusion does not follow from the premises. It is entirely conceivable that a central government could formally embrace Objectivist principles but (because men are not infallible) provide services that are less than satisfactory or too costly. As for changing the philosophical premises that exist in a culture, I think that’s a splendid proposal. I’d like to teach the world to sing in Objectivist harmony. But changing the culture will not miraculously result in the perfect performance of all government officials. And while we’re waiting for their performance to improve, why can’t our province go its own way?

If the proper philosophical premises do not exist, then secession solves nothing. Or, to put it in its most basic form: you can't escape from the philosophy guiding a culture.

But history shows that people have been able change the rate at which they are taxed and the structure of their government without a cultural revolution. Accordingly, I see no reason why redressing specific political grievances must await an Objectivist kingdom come. In my lifetime, the draft ended and abortion and the ownership of gold bullion were legalized. I was active in all three political struggles. Was it wrong to push for those changes while the culture remained predominantly altruist-collectivist-statist?

So, if we achieve a rational culture and the rational gov't to accompany it, then what reason would there be to secede from it - unless it were to impliment irrationality? If a gov't isn't acting "efficiently" in protecting rights, whatever that might mean in a particular instance, then that particular issue can easily be addressed - again, assuming a rational culture. Why would a rational culture not want their rights protected efficiently? (If there is any sure bet way to get elected in the United States, it's on a platform of being "tough on crime").

As I have previously explained, some provinces may be tax cows for the rest of the nation: they would provide a larger portion of the tax revenue but not receive a proportionately greater amount of services. This is not hypothetical; it is the very case in the county where I reside. The northern, mostly suburban part of the county literally wants to secede because even though it is not densely populated, it provides ¾ of the property taxes collected yet does not receive a proportionately larger share of county services (including police protection). Would a belief in Objectivism necessarily persuade the majority in South County to give its rich neighbors proportionately greater police services? Perhaps. But if it didn’t, shouldn’t we uphold the right of the minority to form a separate, more cost-effective government?

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Dr. Hurd challenges the Libertarian Party's alleged "openness:"

Dr. Hurd Wrote:

I don’t care what other points the Libertarian Party might make on the subject of taxes or limited government with which I might agree, in an out-of-context fashion. Evasions and errors of the magnitude just described come from a place I do not want to enter or go near. This viewpoint is unforgivable and inexcusable. Total surrender of the Middle East and our objective national interests to the likes of Osama bin Laden and the mullahs in Iran--not to mention other terrorist dictators throughout the world--wipes out any value from reducing the role of government in the economy. How can a capitalistic America flourish under the threat of a nuclear cloud, biological warfare or worse? If you think America is in danger with a troop presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, just imagine if we gave up the fight altogether.

I sometimes accuse liberal Democrats of being sympathetic to our enemies, and I stand by that accusation. However, the foreign policy advocated by the Libertarian Party is the worst thing I have ever seen. We even have a better chance under John Kerry than under this kind of mentality. The Democrats would weaken us more than we already have been weakened. The Libertarian foreign policy would destroy us.

Only a party which claims to allow a diversity of opinion amd philosophy would even accept the woefully misguided premises that Dr. Hurd exposes here.

Libertarians are the lowest forms of hippies out there. :pimp:

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