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A few problems I have (round 2)

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I guess I might be posting new "rounds" if I feel I need to take the topic in a different direction than the previous thread allowed, and as my own understanding increases.

As a case in point, i've been slowly working through Capitalism: An Unknown Ideal and finding it to answer some of the lingering questions. I had previously obsessively reread Atlas Shrugged and perused the Fountainhead, along with some secondhand webpage arguments for or against Objectivism, and gotten involved in discussions with self-proclaimed Objectivists who claimed to understand it better than I did. I'm now seeing the need to read further because i'm seeing lines of thought explored that weren't directly covered. (such as the notion of big governments CAUSING war because of being able to afford to fight it frivolously, and to keep the 'loot' as profit) and even if I am not sure whether I automatically have faith in the opposite (that an all volunteer army is always going to have enough staffing, training, funding, and equal effectiveness) I can at least come to a clearer delineation in my thoughts as to what it is i'm having hangups about. Perhaps the hangups will be answered by reading everything Rand wrote, perhaps not, but I still have a compulsive itch to talk about the process as I go. If for no other reason than to understand the changes in my own psychology occurring.

A couple things i'm definately learning so far:

- Most of the arguments against Objectivism are from the howling mob of looters whose survival is dependant on the looter mentality

- Many of the semi legitimate sounding arguments against Objectivism are by people that are attacking a misrepresentation of Objectivism (example being using examples of 'capitalist abuses' like using governments to maintain monopolies that couldn't exist without government help, which by definition is not Objectivism) who are seeing an assumed weakness in one part and not understanding that it is an entire system of rich well reasoned and precise thought

- There is alot of disagreement over seemingly minor things (to outsiders) who fail to understand the significance and importance of a certain stance or attitude (for instance someone who doesnt see the big deal of just a 'tiny little tax' on the most extremely rich is such a big deal, or an absolute zero tolerance towards "compromise with evil") which I am starting to see as necessary to that system, just like an intolerance to pollution in drinking water or poison injected into a body should be violently resisted as well but some people are so used to drinking and being injected with poison they "dont see why its such a big deal". I haven't rigorously tested every axiom or argument yet but i'm perceiving that it is a categorically different kind of thought from what the mindless argue.

- There are people elsewhere who claim to be or understand Objectivism who neither understand it nor follow it and when I argue with them I get a distorted view of what Objectivism actually is :P

So let me try either other angles or rephrases of some of my original arguments...

Upon getting into CAUI i'm now seeing just how moral Objectivism really is. Many of the arguments made of government doing something that protects us in reality cause more problems, sometimes not immediately but in the long term or through later abuses that only become apparent with time. The "cure" is worse than the poison even if one admits the poison is something bad, the biggest argument is what to do about it and whom is responsible for doing something about it. No system can perfectly prevent all injustice or harm (for instance a musician having an accident and losing the use of his hands and therefore his means of livelihood - in an objectivist system there is no government safety net) Any system trying to get help for injustice occurring to someone cannot morally extract that assistance by force at the point of a gun, and it becomes a slippery slope if a people can be sold on the first extreme argument to allow such a thing. Since Objectivism makes the individual responsible, about everything, just like they are in nature, so he or she is going to have to internalize a sense of wariness, responsibility and taking proactive action regarding every potential threat and possible outcome. Making the government responsible only leads to a dependance mentality, howls of rage when the government fails to set aside enough wheat reserves or have a fast enough ambulance system, howls of wasted money when the crises does not materialize every year, and a high susceptibility to political gamesmanship whenever the failures of either doing too much/spending too much or doing too little are harped on by the incumbents and a generalized degradation of society.

It's difficult to realize how much i've been "institutionalized" in thinking at least when i'm doing it in realtime. If there is some kind of threat from nature, like a natural disaster or interruption in infrastructure, I used to react like most whiny people, "well what is the government going to do about it?" Now i'm starting to ask "what am _I_ going to do about it?" but then I realize the handicapping even further when my next thoughts are still about who do I need to get permission from to find out what i'm allowed to do without breaking some arbitrary law. This is a completely different type of thought, that's why there is no compromise possible with the other type of thought. You cant mix oil and water any more than you can mix personal responsibility and still be blaming others, any attempt to do so will be forced, temporary, probably ineffective, and more likely to lead to not only the disempowerment of individuals but the entire society.

Yet at the same time I realize there are potential problems so that's my first argument... STAKEHOLDERS

What happens when my personal actions affect the safety or health of others who are not parties to the contract? What if my decision to deal with riots is to store millions of rounds of ammo to sell to others to stop looting, and I have an accident which wipes out a city block? Or what if my genset is too loud and affects the neighbors? Or what if my ammonia-based air conditioning system has a leak and the poison gasses kill the neighbors? This is a situation of neither initiating force nor committing fraud. Dont limit answers exclusively to the easier to deal with physical things, this is a question of where and when should government ever regulate the actions of others.

The same can be extrapolated to anything. I simply build a factory, but maybe its not very safe. I can argue I am hiring people in free contract, they can accept or reject. Every other industrialist probably is doing things just as unsafely however. What you have is a cultural inertia, it costs money to change, but without consumers paying more the funds may not be there even if the workers strike. You could dare say this is the one and only legitimate argument that the communists/socialists have ever made about how many people 'capitalism kills' uncaringly. Look at Union Carbide in Bhopal India for an example. (even if the socialists often result in even worse pollution, safety and deaths by scarcity later, the point is that it seems to be a better solution to some on the short term presentation) There seem to be certain social changes, that one could argue are beneficial to everyone, that can't seem to come without "forceful" regulation from government making it happen. You might even say that the baseline scientific research proving such things are harmful wouldn't even get done in a capitalistic society. (I am not arguing for regulation - rather I havent heard any enlightened counterarguments yet in my reading)

Next point is that if all that is up to the individual to choose to behave in an enlightened manner, subscribing to a science society that does health and safety research, choosing carefully to only work at a safer factory, that is fine for the individual but what about those who dont? FAMILY

One thing that strikes me is that alot of the "failures" of an Objectivist society would come down to parents damning their own children by making poor choices, or raising children with poor or foolish attitudes and poor problem solving ability. It seems very easy for parents to utterly screw up their kids. (I say this coming from an utterly screwed up family btw) Yet i'm not sure what the solution is. The argument of a government intervening to guarantee a certain "minimum education" or healthcare or freedom from poverty sounds like a good idea, but fails to answer whose work will be providing those services and whether those services are extracted at gunpoint, or rather bought on the free market and the taxes to pay for those services extracted at gunpoint including from those who are childless by choice.

Any comments? I may split further diversions off onto their own topics hoping to lure in readers who probably abandoned my original post thinking it was crap and so didn't see any followups, if thats permissible in the board.

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What happens when my personal actions affect the safety or health of others who are not parties to the contract? What if my decision to deal with riots is to store millions of rounds of ammo to sell to others to stop looting, and I have an accident which wipes out a city block?

Why store millions of rounds of ammo in the middle of a city (where, if you accidentally kill someone, you go to jail), and why would the government allow that? Threatening others is definitely initiation of force.

Or what if my genset is too loud and affects the neighbors?

There are solutions to that problem, that stem from the principle of individual rights. Using noise against your neighbors is also initiation of force.

Or what if my ammonia-based air conditioning system has a leak and the poison gasses kill the neighbors? This is a situation of neither initiating force nor committing fraud.

First off, an apartment building is a single unit, built by a single owner. Why would anyone sell you an apartment in their building, without conditions? Second, if you actually poison your neighbors, that absolutely is initiation of force.

There seem to be certain social changes, that one could argue are beneficial to everyone, that can't seem to come without "forceful" regulation from government making it happen. You might even say that the baseline scientific research proving such things are harmful wouldn't even get done in a capitalistic society. (I am not arguing for regulation - rather I havent heard any enlightened counterarguments yet in my reading)

You have some mighty long threads, but I recall reading something about you not focusing on the moral argument, and approaching the problem from a social Darwinism perspective. I guess if you keep that up, you're never gonna hear any enlightened arguments against regulation, since your entire premise is that a society is a single unit and the individual a cog in the machine. (where the better organized machine will naturally come out on top)

In reality, individuals are rational units, which can only be productive, creative, moral, inspired, etc. (all the traits which separate humans from animals living and dying by the whims of nature, and allow us to create the means by which we live as men, rather than die as an animal who lost its instincts but has no reason to replace them with - such as a lion raised in the zoo and dropped in the middle of Africa to fend for itself), if allowed to think, and act on their own thinking (in other words, be rational). If enslaved, or taught to use force over slaves instead of their own abilities to further their goals, humans posses none of those traits, they become all the bad things collectivists decry about human nature, and cite as arguments for even more collectivism. Collectivism fails because it attempts to turn men into something evil: irrational cogs in an imaginary machine, society, which in reality possesses only the intelligence of the biggest brute around, the one which managed to destroy all his rivals on his way up the ladder of power. In reality, men by default aren't evil, they are good. And by good, I mean capable of being rational and independent.

In the age of technology, where warfare no longer consists of men running at each other with big bats or swords, a nation of rational individuals can easily defeat a society of slaves who do as they're told by some brute or committee of brutes.

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You are mistaking "use of violence" with "initiation of force". Causing damage to someone, even if you didn't MEAN to do it but were just stupid, is still a crime. If you don't trim your trees and one drops a limb that totals your neighbor's car, guess what, you're liable even if you didn't personally saw that limb off the tree in such a fashion as to destroy their Bentley. Controlling your property and taking precautions with it is part of the cost of ownership.

Force does not just mean putting a gun to someone's head and threatening them with immediate death unless they do what you say. It can mean something as simple as parking your butt in the middle of their driveway and refusing to move (sit-ins, so called "non-violent" demonstrations, which STILL violate people's property rights), in which case they are entitled to use force or even violence (usually through an impartial third party, the police) if it is necessary to remove you.

What other Objectivist literature have you read? C:UI is not the best place to start because you will end up with questions like these if you don't understand more fundamental issues as "what is force?" etc.

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You (or the mods) might also change the name of your threads to the main subject you want to discuss, not just “round 2, 3, 5 ,6… 11, 12...82342”, so that we can actually know what you are talking about before having to read these huge questions of yours and not wasting anyone's time, and also so that any other person interested can find them using the search button with all the other related threads in the future.

Edited by 0096 2251 2110 8105

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