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Hi Everybody,

Great site you have here. Let me introduce myself. My screen name is who I am. Feel free to call me Ed. Politically I am a libertarian and an LP member, philosophically I consider myself an objectivist. Naturally my favorite author is Ayn Rand, with favorite book being Atlas Shrugged. I am a teacher in an upscale private school who believes strongly in the privatization of all education ( I know, typical libertarian LOL). I have never quite understood the anymosity between libertarians and objectivists, being that libertarianism is more in the realm of politics while objectivism is more philosophical. The two systems have much in common, with similar roots. Libertarianism is the perfect conduit for objectivist philosophy, much more compatible than the Democratic or Republican parties. As an objectivist I have always felt more at home in the LP than in any other party. Those are m thoughts, I'll delve into specifics in the politics forum.

Hey, it is good to be here. I am an administrator at another political/opinion board, so I'll try to stop by when my duties allow. See you all on the board.

Yours in liberty,

Ed

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Hi J Hall,

Yes, I am familiar with all of this in that thread. I have been in many of these same discussions. While I respect the well written and well reasoned insights of each of those posters, I don't necessarily agree down the line with everything articulated in the thread. I do enjoy their logical discourse, of course that is what we expect from objectivists. I like this site, and I will be over here as much as time will allow.

Like I stated before, my politics are libertarian, and I am a longtime registered LP member. Philosophically I consider myself a student of objectivism. I find my beliefs and values to be completely harmonious, and I believe that there is much more in common between libertarianism and objectivism than there are differences - especially since one tends to lend itself more to the realm of politics and the other to philosophy. Anyway, it is good to be here. See you all around on the board.

Yours in liberty,

Ed

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Greetings Ed, and welcome to the forum.

You are right that libertarianism restricts itself to politics, but disconnecting itself from everything else is where the problem lies. They might reliably defend economic and personal freedoms, but without a strong philosophical grounding, their ability to defend capitalism and assert its superiority remains impaired. They can't defend capitalism because their understanding of it is simplistic and leads to the sort of contempt for rules common to anarchists. They can't assert its superiority because they are essentially subjectivists, supporting a group's right to secession and freedom from colonialism regardless of what regime the group in question might want to replace the previous one with. As for war, well, what he said.

To concretize this a bit, here are some typical statements made in one FSP thread:

"The government can't keep us safe. It can't educate kids. It can't end poverty. It can't end drug abuse. It can't do anything right. I don't know why so many people who usually distrust government think war is any different than any other government program." --thegotoguy

"When did you miss the distinction between wanting to kill you, and trying to kill you? It's as simple as that. Speech ain't an initiation of force." --Herself (upon being asked whether she would support a war against Iran)

"We have the Republicans and Democrats with their interventionist foreign policy to thank for the terrorist threat to the US." --Top Dollar

"[Osama] did not admit involvement in 9/11, but magically, the Bush administration fingered him as being the man responsible. I haven't seen enough evidence! Plus, even if he did have blood on his hands, and we COULD prove it, I still couldn't support invading a country, over one man. Keep the military here. (And then abolish it.)" --FTL_Ian

http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.ph...id=6935;start=0

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Politically I am a libertarian and an LP member, philosophically I consider myself an objectivist.

You can't be a philosophical Objectivist without first accepting the inseparable political philosophy within it. As an Objectivist, one must accept capitalism as the only governmental ideal, which includes the necessity of a state that exists to protect individual rights. Your article seems to say that all government is a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy, which undermines the Objectivist position that government must exist, and that its existence is good and moral. Additionally, government needs an objectively moral political philosophy on which to act, especially when it decides how to retaliate with force on other countries or persons.

I hope you enjoy your stay here, because this is an awesome forum!

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As an Objectivist, one must accept capitalism as the only governmental ideal, which includes the necessity of a state that exists to protect individual rights.

True libertarianism believes this, that is why I, along with true libertarians are minarchists. As such I have no use for the absurdity of anarchy. It is just not workable. We believe in limited government as instituted by our Founding Fathers and articulated in the Constitution and BoR. As such I have no use for the absurdity of anarchy. It is just not workable. That is the government's purpose, to protect individual rights, to provide a conduit to redress grievences, and to provide for the common defense. Anything else is to be left to the private sector. Libertarians believe wholeheartedly in free enterprise and the capitalist system. Also, inherent in libertarian doctrine is that government has no business regulating the free market, that the free market works best when allowed to police itself and through competition.

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Hi Oakes,

Thanks for the welcome. I have enjoyed reading your responses on this board.

They can't assert its superiority because they are essentially subjectivists, supporting a group's right to secession and freedom from colonialism regardless of what regime the group in question might want to replace the previous one with.

If you are alluding to such historical events such as the secession of the southern states during the War of Northern Aggression, then of course states have a right to secede. When that right was abrogated by force and by invasion from the Lincoln Adminstration, the Confederate States of America, a soveirgn nation, had every right to defend itself. Because of wrong headed beliefs and the imposition of the federal government, Lincoln was able to succeed in his quest to largely centralize governmental power in Washington DC. Lincoln was one of the absolute worst of our presidents, and amongst libertarians you will find very few who have a high regard for Lincoln, FDR, LBJ, Truman, Nixon, Clinton, or Bush. In fact, our best presidents were the first five, and in the 20th century it was Calvin Coolidge.

The right of secession is guaranteed to the states, but thanks to the exponential growth and scope of the federal government under Lincoln, Andrew Johnson , reconstruction, Wilson, and FDR, the Tenth Ammendment has all but been forgotten.

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I wasn't referring to any particular historical event, though I will point out that Objectivism clearly states that non-free political entities have no right to exist, no right to self-defense, no right of any kind. The libertarian platform, ignoring this context, made a sweeping condemnation of colonialism and declaration of the right to secession. As Fred Weiss observed, this means abortion opponents can "secede and form their own Fundamentalist Christian and/or Islamic Theocratic Libertarian gov't which, sensitive to the rights of fetuses and the initiation of force directed at them, imprisons and executes women and their doctors who perform abortions."

Without a philosophy, libertarians remain incapable of asserting the moral superiority of capitalism. That leads them to view their own ideas as "our way of doing things", staunchly opposing foreign intervention on grounds that it interferes with the "affairs" of other countries. The same reasoning extends to the issues of secession and "colonialism".

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...

I am a libertarian and an LP member, philosophically I consider myself an objectivist.

...

The philosophy which Ayn Rand created is Objectivism. An Objectivist is someone who agrees with every tenet of Objectivism, as far as he has studied it.

What do you mean by "objectivist" rather than Objectivist?

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The philosophy which Ayn Rand created is Objectivism. An Objectivist is someone who agrees with every tenet of Objectivism, as far as he has studied it.

What do you mean by "objectivist" rather than Objectivist?

Hi BurgessLau,

Ah semantics! Ok, so I failed to uppercase Objectivist. Actually I should have stated that I consider myself a student of Objectivism. Since I am a deist rather than an atheist I suppose I couldn't really call myself an Objectivist anyway.

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Greetings Ed, and welcome to the forum.

You are right that libertarianism restricts itself to politics, but disconnecting itself from everything else is where the problem lies. They might reliably defend economic and personal freedoms, but without a strong philosophical grounding, their ability to defend capitalism and assert its superiority remains impaired. They can't defend capitalism because their understanding of it is simplistic and leads to the sort of contempt for rules common to anarchists. They can't assert its superiority because they are essentially subjectivists, supporting a group's right to secession and freedom from colonialism regardless of what regime the group in question might want to replace the previous one with. As for war, well, what he said.

To concretize this a bit, here are some typical statements made in one FSP thread:

"The government can't keep us safe. It can't educate kids. It can't end poverty. It can't end drug abuse. It can't do anything right. I don't know why so many people who usually distrust government think war is any different than any other government program." --thegotoguy

"When did you miss the distinction between wanting to kill you, and trying to kill you? It's as simple as that. Speech ain't an initiation of force." --Herself (upon being asked whether she would support a war against Iran)

"We have the Republicans and Democrats with their interventionist foreign policy to thank for the terrorist threat to the US." --Top Dollar

"[Osama] did not admit involvement in 9/11, but magically, the Bush administration fingered him as being the man responsible. I haven't seen enough evidence! Plus, even if he did have blood on his hands, and we COULD prove it, I still couldn't support invading a country, over one man. Keep the military here. (And then abolish it.)" --FTL_Ian

http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.ph...id=6935;start=0

Oakes,

Funny that you'd mention the FSP. Those quotes lend no credibility to any debate, or argument, as far as the basis and fundamentals of libertarianism go. Nor do they speak for libertarianism or true minarchist libertarians. The FSP has become somewhat of a laughingstock within many in the LP, and certainly with genuine libertarians. True, it is made up and staffed with libertarians, and a few RLC types, but it has become an abject failure - due of course to politics and stubborn headed choices as far as a location for this experiment. Yeah, who'd have thunk it, right. :) Their premises, and motivations were correct, and initially their plans showed promise, but for all intents and purposes it died on the vine. They had an opportunity to choose a state to implement their plans that was of a small population, Montana or Wyoming, yet where did they choose? New Hampshire - right in the cradle of Northeastern establishment patrician Republicanism. Why, because the leaders were not about to uproot themselves, most were from New England. Just look at New Hampshire, how many LP members were on ballots in local and state elections? None. Hell, the LP failed to get on the ballot for the gubernatorial election. Yeah, great job FSP. The FSP does not speak for the Libertarian Party, nor is it officially sanctioned by the LP.

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Ed,

Looking at what you've written, if I were a teacher of Objectivism, and you were a student of Objectivism, I'd say you were a slow learner, in risk of earning a failing grade. I'd say the key problem is lack of conceptual integration, and the lack of effort in searching for contradictions.

By what standard do you attempt to differentiate "true Libertarianism" from the actual Libertarianism we see around us in the world? "True Libertarianism," which I think you are claiming is consistent with Objectivism, couldn't be what is in the L.P. platform, because that's certainly not consistent with the philosophy of Objectivism. In any case, only Objectivist political theory is fully consistent with Objectivism, and it cannot stand alone without the whole philosophy.

Well, this is a totally uninteresting topic to me. You claim to be fully aware of the problem, yet claim no problem exists. It's nice that so many people like Ayn Rand's books, it's too bad so few people understand them, and don't even realize that they don't understand her philosophy.

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Funny that you'd mention the FSP. Those quotes lend no credibility to any debate, or argument, as far as the basis and fundamentals of libertarianism go.

I'll grant you this, but I will also say that at least some of those quotes are fully consistent with everything in the LP platform I just went over.

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A. West wrote:

Ed,

Looking at what you've written, if I were a teacher of Objectivism, and you were a student of Objectivism, I'd say you were a slow learner, in risk of earning a failing grade.

Well damn, I am completely devastated, your opinions and station in life meant so much to me. :(

By what standard do you attempt to differentiate "true Libertarianism" from the actual Libertarianism we see around us in the world?

Unfortutately I see no libertarianism being practiced anywhere in the world, that is the problem.

"True Libertarianism," which I think you are claiming is consistent with Objectivism, couldn't be what is in the L.P. platform, because that's certainly not consistent with the philosophy of Objectivism.
Really, do Objectivists not believe in the right of self-defense, along with the non-agression principle? Do not Libertarians and Objectivists believe in a self-policing free market? I see several areas where they are compatible.

In any case, only Objectivist political theory is fully consistent with Objectivism, and it cannot stand alone without the whole philosophy.

Objectivism has a political theory? Wow, is that why it is considered a school of political thought like Libertarianism, Conservatism, and Liberalism? How many candidates does the 'Objectivist Party' put forth on ballots nationwide? <_< One day leading Objectivists support interventionists like Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the next they are lining up behind a socialist fool like John Kerry. I am of the opinion that Objectivism had better rethink its political philosophy, which pretty much can be summed up by 'Throwing the baby out with the bath water.' The only reason that Peikoff now supports Kerry is due to his perception that Bush will 'christianize' America. As if Kerry doesn't spout diatribes about faith. Now, granted, the infusion of religious dogma and doctrine into the political arena concerns me as well, but I certainly base my political support on more than just one issue.

Well, this is a totally uninteresting topic to me.

Ironic, isn't it, that you choose to engage me on this topic if it is so uninteresting to you? Fact is, you have a complete lack of manners and grace. I came here to engage in productive and friendly conversation, and I find myself the recipient of ad hominems, simply due to the fact that people here do not like libertarians.

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Really, do Objectivists not believe in the right of self-defense, along with the non-agression principle? Do not Libertarians and Objectivists believe in a self-policing free market? I see several areas where they are compatible.

Okay, you get to answer a burning question that I've got about libertarianism. Does libertarian philosophy hold that the right to life and liberty and the non-agression principle are fundamental and irreducible primaries, or do they derive from something. Is your right to own your property an axiom, or is that a consequence of something else?

I strongly encourage you to answer this question: I think I know the answer, but I might be wrong, so I'd like to see what you have to say about this particular aspect of Libertarianism.

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Okay, you get to answer a burning question that I've got about libertarianism. Does libertarian philosophy hold that the right to life and liberty and the non-agression principle are fundamental and irreducible primaries, or do they derive from something. Is your right to own your property an axiom, or is that a consequence of something else?

I strongly encourage you to answer this question: I think I know the answer, but I might be wrong, so I'd like to see what you have to say about this particular aspect of Libertarianism.

The first and most fundamental of all natural rights is the right to own property. The basis for this is derived from the right to own one’s own body, which assists in outlining the right to self-defense, the right to be free from invading forces, and the right to peacebly conduct our day to day affairs. Since we are moral agents who own our own bodies, we need no permission from anyone else, or the state, in order to defend ourselves. Since we retain full ownership of ourselves, we have every right to defend ourselves. As such you have the right to do with your own body anything you see fit. As such you also must accept the responsibilities of said actions as well. Conversely, Except in the case of legitimate self-defense, it is a violation of a person's right to his own body to kill, mutilate, torture, kidnap, imprison, or have sexual contact with him without his consent. In other words, one does not have the right to initiate force against another person, in any form, other than self-defense and self-preservation. As a moral agent you have the right to choose for yourself and an obligation to let other moral agents choose for themselves.

In order to physically own something, it must be something that can be appropriated and controlled. The laws of nature, celestial bodies, the air we breath are all examples of something not approbiable. As such, we can not be free from these. These laws of nature are immutable, and therefore no one can ever be free from them. They can not be owned, nor controlled individually or collectively. To be ownable something must exist, one cannot own that which currently does not exist. In order to morally partake of, as in the case of food, or control as in land, we must be able to establish and retain ownership. In order to be truly free, we must be able to own economic goods. I can ramble on, but in short, the right to own and control private property is the basis of liberty. One can not have one without the other. It is fundamental to our values of liberty to be able to exercise ownership and control of private property, whether it be goods we own, land that we own and control, or our own bodies.

I imagine that you are familiar with the concept of The Homestead Principle. It is based on natural law, and basically articulates that by mixing your labor with unowned resources that those transformed resources become your property. This is built upon the premise that by using property that is already your own, such as your labor and your money, to transform a resource that belongs to no one, it becomes wholly yours and no one elses'. After legitimate ownership is established, then by voluntary contract between consenting parties, ownership of land can be transfered. Others have the same right as you have. It is the basis of free trade and exchange. Legitimately acquired property is yours to do with as you please, so long as you do not impede or abrogate another's rights in the process.

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I can ramble on, but in short, the right to own and control private property is the basis of liberty. One can not have one without the other. It is fundamental to our values of liberty to be able to exercise ownership and control of private property, whether it be goods we own, land that we own and control, or our own bodies.

So it is an "axiom?"

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Okay, you get to answer a burning question that I've got about libertarianism. Does libertarian philosophy hold that the right to life and liberty and the non-agression principle are fundamental and irreducible primaries, or do they derive from something. Is your right to own your property an axiom, or is that a consequence of something else?

...

(Boldface emphasis added)

I am repeating Mr. Odden's question because I believe you, Mr. Williamson, missed its key point.

The key point is not what we can build on the right to liberty or property or whatever you consider to be the fundamental right.

Instead, the key point I believe Mr. Odden is asking is this: In a philosophical hierarchy of principles, what is the foundation of that right?

In Objectivism, which is the philosophy that Ayn Rand created, philosophy has five branches: metaphysics (ontology), epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. That is roughly the hierarchical order. That is, metaphysics is the foundation of epistemology, which is the foundation of ethics, which is the foundation of politics (note: this is politics as a branch of philosophy, not "politics" in the sense of partisan campaigning, which is or should be an application of philosophical politics).

So, again, what is the foundation of Libertarian political principles? Do they start with an "axiom" -- such as the nonaggression principle -- or do they have a hierarchical foundation in an ethics, an epistemology, and a metaphysics? If the latter, then what are those fundamental branches -- that is, what are their essential principles, the ones to which Libertarians subscribe?

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Since I am a deist rather than an atheist I suppose I couldn't really call myself an Objectivist anyway.

Even more fundamentally, since you are an avowed libertarian, you should not refer to yourself as an Objectivist at all. Ayn Rand, the originator of the philosophy of Objectivism, admired some deists, such as some of the founding fathers of our country. (Of course, her admiration was not because they were deists, but in spite of them being so.) But Ayn Rand made clear, many times and in many ways, that she could not abide with libertarians at all. In fact, she stated emphatically that "libertarians are my avowed enemies" (The Letters of Ayn Rand, p. 664).

So, since you are a libertarian, to refer to yourself as an Objectivist would be a rather obscene affront to Miss Rand, who sees your views as that of an enemy to the Objectivist philosophy. And, considering these facts, why would you choose to come to a forum dedicated to the philosophy whose author identifies your views as being those of her enemy? Perhaps you were not previously aware of just how abhorrent libertarianism is to Objectivism and Objectivists. But, knowing that now, if you still choose to stay on this forum, and if you have any sense of decency at all -- any respect for Ayn Rand -- you will at least refrain from promoting your libertarian views. Leave them at the doorstep of this forum, if you still choose to enter our door.

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The first and most fundamental of all natural rights is the right to own property. The basis for this is derived from the right to own one’s own body, which assists in outlining the right to self-defense, the right to be free from invading forces, and the right to peacebly conduct our day to day affairs.

Okay, but now this confuses me. On the one hand you say that the first and fundamental right is the right to own property, but then you say that this right derives from something else. That means that the right to own property is not the first and fundamental right, but rather is a derivative right. Now are you saying that the first and most fundamental right is the right to own our own bodies?

Assuming that's the case, do you believe that animals also have the same right to own their own bodies?

In other words, one does not have the right to initiate force against another person, in any form, other than self-defense and self-preservation. As a moral agent you have the right to choose for yourself and an obligation to let other moral agents choose for themselves.
How about fraud? I would surmise from this that it's not okay to bash someone on the head to get their wallet, but if you can defraud someone nonviolently, that would be okay. If not, why not?

In order to physically own something, it must be something that can be appropriated and controlled. The laws of nature, celestial bodies, the air we breath are all examples of something not approbiable.

That seems like a strange conclusion. If I can own a chunk of land here, why can't I own a chunk of land, or flaming gas, outside Earth's atmosphere? Are you saying that the stars are for all mankind, not to be owned by an individual? Then I would suppose that if someone sets up an asteroid mining operation, that the ore which they dig out can't become their property. That seems rather unlibertarian.

To be ownable something must exist, one cannot own that which currently does not exist.
Most certainly; but again, the air exists and the laws of nature exist, so why can't these particular things which exist be owned?

I can ramble on, but in short, the right to own and control private property is the basis of liberty. One can not have one without the other. It is fundamental to our values of liberty to be able to exercise ownership and control of private property, whether it be goods we own, land that we own and control, or our own bodies.

This last sentence suggests that you're saying that the ability to own is justified as a means of having liberty -- so that having liberty is the fundamental principle, which ownership is in service of. Is that right?

Let me explain why I asked. I started life years ago as a libertarian (hell, I ran for public office on the LP ticket in 1972), but came to realise that the standard Libertarian account of rights was incoherent. The search for a coherent account of rights was what brought me to Objectivism. What I want to know is whether there was some Libertarian explanation of rights that I missed; or, is it simply an irredicible axiom, that man has rights. I believe that for libertarians, the latter is the case.

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Objectivism has a political theory? Wow, is that why it is considered a school of political thought like Libertarianism, Conservatism,  and Liberalism?

YES!

In fact, "Liberal, Objectivist, Conservative: Divergent Voices in America" was the title of a PBS program a few years back featuring Dr. Leonard Peikoff. You can order a tape of the show (click here).

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YES!

In fact, "Liberal, Objectivist, Conservative: Divergent Voices in America" was the title of a PBS program a few years back featuring Dr. Leonard Peikoff.  You can order a tape of the show (click here).

Hi Betsy,

I'm fully aware of that program having already seen it. I was impressed by Peikoff's reasoned and rational arguments, as I usually am. However, in political circles Objectivism is not considered a political school of thought or a political ideology, and no amount of lecturing by Dr. Peikoff will make that so. If Objectivism is not compatible with the GOP, Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, then why haven't we seen the development of the Objectivist Party? Fact of the matter is that Objectivism needs a political conduit to ever make an impression, or a difference within the political arena.

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Hi Betsy,

I'm fully aware of that program having already seen it. I was impressed by Peikoff's reasoned and rational arguments, as I usually am.  However, in political circles Objectivism is not considered a political school of thought or a political ideology, and no amount of lecturing by Dr. Peikoff will make that so. If Objectivism is not compatible with the GOP, Democrats, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, then why haven't we seen the development of the Objectivist Party? Fact of the matter is that Objectivism needs a political conduit to ever make an impression, or a difference within the political arena.

Objectivists are choosing the best of two candidates that have a chance of winning, in order to recieve the best government possible. There will be an Objectivist or Capitalist Party as soon as the climate is right. Now, however, the battle is being waged in America's universities.

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... in political circles Objectivism is not considered a political school of thought or a political ideology...

That is good news. Whoever "political circles" might be, at least they are clear-headed enough to know the difference between a philosophy, which has a branch for Politics, and a "political ideology."

Do you understand the difference?

You might start by examining the entries for "Philosophy" and "Ideology" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon, and then follow the leads offered there.

Philosophy is the fundamental and universal science. It provides the principles which underlie all human knowledge and activity. It applies to all people, everywhere, and at all times.

Ideology is the application of a philosophy to a particular milieu -- to understanding its nature, both good and bad, and developing a general approach to correcting the problems.

Philosophy without ideology would be inapplicable for groups of people who want to make their milieu better. Ideology without a philosophical foundation would be worse. It would leave its adherents without guides to action in their lives and without a connection between their ideology and reality.

P. S. -- As a former Libertarian myself, I eagerly await your answers to the questions that David Odden and I have asked about the foundations of Libertarianism. In my case, I left the LP when I realized the contradiction between what I was seeing (Christians, anarchists, and pedophiles in the LP) and what I had been told (that the LP was based on a philosophy of reason).

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banana,

Now, however, the battle is being waged in America's universities.

I have noticed that, and I applaud you all for it. Universities are bastions of socialist/liberal thought. The rot that has become academia is infecting, and has been infecting our society for far too long. Of course, that is one of the many reasons libertarians seek to privatize all education - government schools are nothing more than doctrination centers.

BurgessLau,

Pedophiles? How about giving a concrete example of what you speak rather than flinging out some unsubstantiated charge. I just may or may not decide to finish my answers, but certainly the attitude that some folks around here display leaves much to be desired. I suppose manners are not something that is practiced around here as a general rule.

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