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Mr. Wynand

Private roads

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I know that Ayn Rand wanted private roads and I have accepted the conviction and used some basic arguments but I just thought I would make sure I didn't miss any of them. So what are the ones that I should focus on?

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And, as with any public service that should be a private service, one need point out one simple fact: the government already does it, so it obviously isn't impossible for any organised private group to do it. How would a private road system operate under LFC? Obviously it would have to be funded by payment, and that payment monitored for compliance. Does this not happen already, however? We pay a road tax here in Britain, and whilst that tax does not necessarily have to go towards maintaining the roads, failure to comply with paying the Road Tax is monitored and punished by the police (and quite well I might add, with a <1% level of evasion in the UK).

I cannot imagine why, under a LFC system, there would not continue to exist a branch of the police dedicated to policing the Roads, in the same way there are other legitimate departments for other specific kinds of law, such as those which specifically just deal with Corporate Fraud as to other types of fraud. It would simply be another form of the government protecting the right of private road owners to their property, and to the proper leasing of their property.

Edited by Tenure

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A private road owner could, under ideal circumstances, police its own roads, or complement the work the police does. For example, say there is a governmetn police on your road, and they catch Joe driving drunk. Whatever punishment the state gives to Joe, you can bar him from entering your road for a number of years. Hell, other road owners could bar him from their roads, too.

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There is but one argument, as Jake stated: individual rights. Anything else addresses -- and implicitly grants validity to -- imagined counterarguments. If someone attempts to destroy the argument from rights based on a substantiated argument from TEOTWAWKI, then you can procede to address that secondary argument.

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I always thought that the Road companies would "police" their own roads or at least hire a company to provide that service. I'd rather have the real police focused on actual rights violations than checking for speeders. Now if the Security patrol of Road Company "A" catches the driver of a stolen car then the police would become involved as it isn't a breach of a rule but a violation of law.

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David: If one says to you then, 'Well, you're not addressing my issue of how the roads would work, and you're all focused on rights. This just further shows that they're nice in theory but don't really work in practice'? How does one defend against a pragmatist's argument without offering proof that moral principles are also practical principles, such as giving an argument for the defense of private roads?

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David: If one says to you then, 'Well, you're not addressing my issue of how the roads would work, and you're all focused on rights. This just further shows that they're nice in theory but don't really work in practice'?
I would start by focusing on this part of what he said: "This shows". What shows? If the question is "Why should we have private roads", the answer is "Individual rights". If the question is "How can you defend the notion of private roads in light of the well-known disasterous Crapleby Roads Ltd. system of roads in Durham County between 1957 and 1961", then your answer would be very different. (I made the example up, if it's not obvious). The primary argument is the moral argument, and it is up to your opponent to prove that private ownership of roads is impractical in order to tarnish the moral argument. You can't do that until you actually have that supposed proof, and I'm suggesting that you should not act as though it's well-known that there is a problem needing to be addressed by capitalism.

Suppose for instance that your opponent had granted the moral principle of individual rights and then claims that individual rights must give way to The Needs of Society; the response is that individual rights are a need of society, and that violating human rights does not in any way better satisfy the Needs of Society. When they respond by saying "But poor people would not be able to afford the roads, and only rich people would be allowed to leave their homes", then you can ask for their evidence to support that outlandish conclusion.

Just in general, I think it's best to put the burden of proof on you opponent.

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Ok, don't private roads exist world wide? I've raced on over thirty different configurations around the United States. Daytona International Speedway, Road America, Infineon Raceway, and others. England has Donnington Park, France has Paul Ricard, and so on.

Those "roads" are rented from the owners by users. Those users might further sell opportunities to individuals. Policing is done by those that rent the roads from the owners or the owners might do some. Maintenance is done by the owners to enhance the opportunities to rent the road. A road in disrepair might not get the volume of rentals that it does when it is new and fresh. Additionally, if the standards of safety for the road aren't too good, the renters might not rent and individuals might not. Thus, and change would be at the discretion of the owners. Cost to the users might go up in a competitive market or might not. Really depends upon the market as a whole.

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I would start by focusing on this part of what he said: "This shows". What shows? If the question is "Why should we have private roads", the answer is "Individual rights". If the question is "How can you defend the notion of private roads in light of the well-known disasterous Crapleby Roads Ltd. system of roads in Durham County between 1957 and 1961", then your answer would be very different. (I made the example up, if it's not obvious). The primary argument is the moral argument, and it is up to your opponent to prove that private ownership of roads is impractical in order to tarnish the moral argument. You can't do that until you actually have that supposed proof, and I'm suggesting that you should not act as though it's well-known that there is a problem needing to be addressed by capitalism.

Suppose for instance that your opponent had granted the moral principle of individual rights and then claims that individual rights must give way to The Needs of Society; the response is that individual rights are a need of society, and that violating human rights does not in any way better satisfy the Needs of Society. When they respond by saying "But poor people would not be able to afford the roads, and only rich people would be allowed to leave their homes", then you can ask for their evidence to support that outlandish conclusion.

Just in general, I think it's best to put the burden of proof on you opponent.

[bold added]

While I agree with everything else, I wouldn't even ask them for evidence to support their argument against a moral system. All they have to do is conjure up some out-of-context example like Bernie Madoff or somebody they know who is literally too poor to feed himself, ostensibly to demonstrate that capitalism necessarily produces victims, and that therefore no system is perfect and that the goal then should be the system that best achieves "social justice". And what do you say to that?

The best approach, in my view, is, as you said, to recognize that any consideration of a moral issue begins with fundamental, principles. I would say to this person that capitalism doesn't guarantee prosperity and happiness for all, it guarantees justice. That's what makes it moral and the right system. If they still want to argue with you and say that the have's must give up something to the have-not's in order to prevent suffering, I think of confronting them with the idea that this requires putting a gun to some people's heads as part of a "proper" social system. If they are still okay with this and can't see the contradiction, or can and don't care, then I am done talking to them and they can drop dead.

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While I agree with everything else, I wouldn't even ask them for evidence to support their argument against a moral system. All they have to do is conjure up some out-of-context example like Bernie Madoff or somebody they know who is literally too poor to feed himself, ostensibly to demonstrate that capitalism necessarily produces victims, and that therefore no system is perfect and that the goal then should be the system that best achieves "social justice". And what do you say to that?

Bernie Madoff can meet Social Security.

"Social justice"? Under who's terms?

When there were all the tsunami's a couple years ago, the United States government sent a lot of aid to those countries. The citizens of the United States did not have a choice in that matter that "the government" decided was morally correct. At the same time, United States citizens gave individual donations to relief efforts.

Those were individual choices rather than made under the immorality of taxation. I found somewhere that the individual donations were more than the amount that the United States government "allocated". I probably cannot reproduce that information. But it begs the question: why is government seemingly better at achieveing "social justice" than a free market where individuals make their own choices?

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Bernie Madoff can meet Social Security.

"Social justice"? Under who's terms?

When there were all the tsunami's a couple years ago, the United States government sent a lot of aid to those countries. The citizens of the United States did not have a choice in that matter that "the government" decided was morally correct. At the same time, United States citizens gave individual donations to relief efforts.

Those were individual choices rather than made under the immorality of taxation. I found somewhere that the individual donations were more than the amount that the United States government "allocated". I probably cannot reproduce that information. But it begs the question: why is government seemingly better at achieveing "social justice" than a free market where individuals make their own choices?

It may beg that question, but my point was that in discussing the merits of capitalism, the question isn't even relevant. The moral rectitude of capitalism does not hinge on whether government or private individuals are more successful at achieving "social justice", however it is defined. Any discussion of "social justice" that isn't a rephrasing of a morality based on, and limited to, reason and individualism, is a waste of time and contradicts the only way for man to live. It does one no good to entertain notions of "social justice" and its possible morality. All one needs to know is why capitalism is right and everything else that is at odds with it should be given no credence.

Once you accept the premise that a given moral system is justified by certain beneficial outcomes, you argue for the ends justifying the means, and open the doors wide open to accepting (if even partially) every nightmarish social system in man's history that claimed to be moral.

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All they have to do is conjure up some out-of-context example like Bernie Madoff or somebody they know who is literally too poor to feed himself, ostensibly to demonstrate that capitalism necessarily produces victims, and that therefore no system is perfect and that the goal then should be the system that best achieves "social justice". And what do you say to that?
That Bernie Madoff had nothing to do with running of roads, and therefore whatever he did is in no way evidence that private ownership of roads would lead to problems for poor people. I would focus on the fact that unsubstantiated imaginings do not constitute evidence. I would conclude (and remind the audience) then that the guy has no evidence.

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Bernie Madoff can meet Social Security.

"Social justice"? Under who's terms?

When there were all the tsunami's a couple years ago, the United States government sent a lot of aid to those countries. The citizens of the United States did not have a choice in that matter that "the government" decided was morally correct. At the same time, United States citizens gave individual donations to relief efforts.

Those were individual choices rather than made under the immorality of taxation. I found somewhere that the individual donations were more than the amount that the United States government "allocated". I probably cannot reproduce that information. But it begs the question: why is government seemingly better at achieveing "social justice" than a free market where individuals make their own choices?

The "justification" for the government achieveing "social justice" better than free markets is that government has a monopoly on the use of force, and as such is the one institution that is capable of forcing compliance by everyone. I have heard the argument that in a free market system, some people would not donate to help the poor and needy. Of course this is an irrelevant argument since it's an individuals choice to give or not to give. The problem then arises that a lot of people don't agree, and see a "moral" obligation to give up time and money. Thus, the government's use of force is seen as the only "just" and "efficient" way to reach this end.

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I have heard the argument that in a free market system, some people would not donate to help the poor and needy. Of course this is an irrelevant argument since it's an individuals choice to give or not to give. The problem then arises that a lot of people don't agree, and see a "moral" obligation to give up time and money. Thus, the government's use of force is seen as the only "just" and "efficient" way to reach this end.

Interesting argument.

I would argue here is not a consistency in government's manner of giving based on "need".

Even then, freedom should be the call, not obligation.

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Thus, the government's use of force is seen as the only "just" and "efficient" way to reach this end.

Is it still just and efficient if the money taken from a man by force prevents him from hiring another man to work in his plant? Is it still just and efficient if the money taken comes out of the education fund of his children, or to support his ailing Mother or Father?

Economy of scale and ease of application have little or nothing to do with justice.

As for efficiency it would be much more efficient for government to take all of our money and return only that which it does not need to operate, thus doing away with the inefficient system of taxation which causes the government to have to guess at the amount of money it needs in order to extract the proper percentage from us on a year to year basis.

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Interesting argument.

I would argue here is not a consistency in government's manner of giving based on "need".

Even then, freedom should be the call, not obligation.

It's very hard to convince people that government is NOT just and efficient. It's very easy to prove that government is not efficient. As to the just part, if you can get anyone to admit that individual property rights exist then it is possible to convince them that government is in fact not just. The best argument to make is that individual rights exist, and group rights do not. After that, ask someone how can government be just by infringing on individual rights in the name of something that doesn't exist(group rights)?

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That Bernie Madoff had nothing to do with running of roads, and therefore whatever he did is in no way evidence that private ownership of roads would lead to problems for poor people. I would focus on the fact that unsubstantiated imaginings do not constitute evidence. I would conclude (and remind the audience) then that the guy has no evidence.
I think that you're missing the context of my examples here. I'm saying that if, in arguing for capitalism, you limit your evidence to concrete examples of successful capitalist ventures, all your opponent has to do is dredge up a free-market crook to show that capitalism "doesn't work" and that statism better achieves "social justice". Without basing your defense of a philosophical ideal on principle, you can't be right, and you're left arguing that the ends justifies the means, and that man should pursue whatever system best achieves those ends, and you're back to pragmatism, as I said.

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I think that you're missing the context of my examples here. I'm saying that if, in arguing for capitalism, you limit your evidence to concrete examples of successful capitalist ventures, all your opponent has to do is dredge up a free-market crook to show that capitalism "doesn't work" and that statism better achieves "social justice". Without basing your defense of a philosophical ideal on principle, you can't be right, and you're left arguing that the ends justifies the means, and that man should pursue whatever system best achieves those ends, and you're back to pragmatism, as I said.
I've argued that the reason for private roads is individual rights. At some point, my opponent has claimed 'Well, you're not addressing my issue of how the roads would work, and you're all focused on rights. This just further shows that they're nice in theory but don't really work in practice', and I’m showing he has no counter-argument: that there is no argument against privatization of roads on principle. So I am not trying to come up with arguments that capitalism is in part or overwhelmingly beneficial. At most, I am engaged in demolishing the ridiculous claim that there are factually disadvantages to capitalism (as in here).

Look, we have a proposal, that roads should be privately owned and operated. I advocate this position, as being the only one consistent with individual rights. In the debate each side gets 5 minutes per turn, and I've had my turn. It's now your turn: how do you turn Bernie Madoff into an argument against individual rights? I'm telling you that no matter how hard you try, I will be able to dispose of all of your arguments against rights, and my argument will be effective primarily because I don't grant even the least implicit hint of validity in the argument that capitalism is impractical. If you think you can get a practical argument against capitalism off the ground, I think I can show you that you can't.

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I've argued that the reason for private roads is individual rights. At some point, my opponent has claimed 'Well, you're not addressing my issue of how the roads would work, and you're all focused on rights. This just further shows that they're nice in theory but don't really work in practice', and I’m showing he has no counter-argument: that there is no argument against privatization of roads on principle. So I am not trying to come up with arguments that capitalism is in part or overwhelmingly beneficial. At most, I am engaged in demolishing the ridiculous claim that there are factually disadvantages to capitalism (as in here).

Look, we have a proposal, that roads should be privately owned and operated. I advocate this position, as being the only one consistent with individual rights. In the debate each side gets 5 minutes per turn, and I've had my turn. It's now your turn: how do you turn Bernie Madoff into an argument against individual rights? I'm telling you that no matter how hard you try, I will be able to dispose of all of your arguments against rights, and my argument will be effective primarily because I don't grant even the least implicit hint of validity in the argument that capitalism is impractical. If you think you can get a practical argument against capitalism off the ground, I think I can show you that you can't.

I don't disagree at all with the essence of what you've said. My point all along has been that you can't properly defend capitalism by restricting your evidence to various examples of its material success. You can include examples and contrast them with non-capitalistic systems, but your defense must be based on the moral rectitude of capitalism. As you said, your defense for private roads is individual rights, not simply that private roads tend to be "better" than public ones. That's my point.

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