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James Bond

I think I might have to leave objectivism

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Well, I think that says it all. I'd love to have a name for Objectivist of the kind that would reach such conclusion - so I can easily differentiate myself from.

If you have a different conclusion to share in the hypothetical "what if" scenario you've arbitrarily created, I'm open to hearing it.

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If you have a different conclusion to share in the hypothetical "what if" scenario you've arbitrarily created, I'm open to hearing it.

Ayn Rand preached integration of concepts, often pointing out how philosophers have little connection to real life situation, and brutes with abstract ideas.

Ayn Rand presented her philosophy, Objectivism, with real life hypothetical situations (her fiction) that would later provide examples for her theory, giving it that sense of "completenes".

My conclusion, since you're open to hear it, is that without her novels Objectivism would not be as it is.

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Which specific part would be different, and in what way exactly?

I doubt it would have even come to being. Kind of my point, that through her novels we have the metadata of the development of Objectivism.

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I agree with whoever it was that questioned the term "anarcho-capitalist". Because, "anarcho-capitalists" are not in favor of anarchy. They're against mobocracy. The "anarcho-capitalist" isn't for everyone ruling over everyone else, but rather each individual ruling over him or herself, which is just plain old individualism. If they cooperate to form organizations which administer "law" (Lets call these organizations governments), then it is because it makes sense, capitalistically. It makes more sense to call these people "individual-capitalists", which is the same thing as an Objectivist.

On the other hand, I've been confused about what supposedly Rand meant by a monopoly on force. I think I remember her saying citizen's arrests were okay, but if any citizen can make an arrest or stop a crime by applying force, then I don't see in what sense there is a monopoly on force.

Perhaps the Objectivist position is that trial and punishment should always take place in the public square? But I wonder what this means in practice. How public does the public square have to be? Asked another way, how many public squares per city blocks? The general rule seems to be, the more minor crimes, the less public it has to be. If I jaywalk across a street, a policeman who sees me do it may decide to give me a "slap on the wrist".

Or perhaps it is something else. As you can see, I'm no lawyer. I'm fairly confused about this subject. I mean, I have some questions.

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On the other hand, I've been confused about what supposedly Rand meant by a monopoly on force. I think I remember her saying citizen's arrests were okay, but if any citizen can make an arrest or stop a crime by applying force, then I don't see in what sense there is a monopoly on force.

It simply means, perhaps in more Hoppean terms if that helps, that there is a single jurisdiction of law and order, a single system of law and provision of justice; that it is not a market open for competing law and enforcement of justice. The police, the criminal and civil courts, and armed forces are provided by one single entity called "the government." It doesn't really have anything to do with citizens arrests or how public the trial is. What exact kind of law should be provided is a limited, regulated legal code of retaliatory force only against those who initiate force, as Rand explains in the section of "The Nature of Government" from VoS:

The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures. Men who attempt to prosecute crimes, without such rules, are a lynch mob. If a society left the retaliatory use of force in the hands of individual citizens, it would degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody private feuds or vendettas.

If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.

A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.

Edit: Oh sorry I got genuinely confused what the topic of this thread is, feel free to move if it's derailing it.

Edited by 2046

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Wait, wait. You said a single entity, "the government". But isn't the government a collection of entities, namely individual citizens?

I agree 100% with everything you just quoted from VOS. But where I might quibble is where she wrote, "If society left the use of retaliatory force in the hands of individual citizens..." I think she means that every person should not take it upon themselves to be the sole administer of justice. He should consult the legal system. Or in my phraseology - take it to the public square. Of course, everyone administering justice in the public square or legal system are themselves individual citizens. Society is a collection of individual citizens. Not a collective, but a freely joined network.

So, when you say there should be a single system, I wonder what that actually means. What does that refer to in reality. Because in reality, there is just a collection of people, who live in towns, which group to make cities, then states, and so on. If a crime is committed, it goes to the public square. How public, how big of a square is determined by the severity of the crime.

What I think the so called "anarcho-capitalists" like James Bond, the OP are saying is the following:

Each public square is naturally going to run their own affairs a little differently from the next, depending upon their circumstances. Everyone is going to have their own ideas about the most efficient ways to run the public square. Because it is "public", the people who live there "own" it and make rulings on a wide range of issues. For instance, whether nudity is legal. Or how loud you are allowed to play your music at 9pm. Or whether or not to put fluoride in the water. I feel like I'm arguing for their position. I didn't intend to at first. The point I really wanted to make is that I don't think they are for anarchy, and it would be more accurate to describe them as "individo-capitalists"

P.S. It occurs to me that the examples I choose were perhaps not the most meaningful of those I could have thought of. There are other more serious issues like privacy issues, or what private security is or isn't allowed to do. I'm not sure since I haven't thought about it all that much. Perhaps I have the wrong idea. Perhaps, even though technology and social moors keep changing, we, as a society, can get together and establish universal laws right down to the minute detail that everyone everywhere can have no possible, conceivable, rational basis for arguing with. Like I said before, I'm less knowledgeable about this, and more confused.

P.S.S. And then there is ideas about punishment. It has always struck me as an interesting debate. Personally, I'm in favor of capital punishment. Child molesters? Off with their heads? But perhaps I'm wrong. Do child molesters have a disease that is treatable? If so, should we bother? Perhaps even if they can be "saved", it would still be worthwhile to terminate them as a warning to other possible offenders? I think as science progresses, there are new ways of coping with crime in general. Because this is so, one can't impose solutions from the top-down. You have to just let people be free as much as possible and let the chips fall where the may. I apologize. That was rather like a stream of thought and I now I realize I sound like an "anarcho-capitalist". I mean individo-capitalist.

EDIT a third time: Or how about a more simple question, but one that, at least to me is still interesting: If I steal 5 dollars from you, what should the punishment be? Obviously if you simply recover the 5 dollars, you haven't done enough. In some sense, it doesn't matter. It is only 5 dollars. But what is the principle here? Recover the money and lock me up for the weekend? Like I keep saying, I'm obviously no lawyer. I would probably have some sort of definitive answer and cases to cite if I were.

Edited by Brian9

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I don't think the use of "entity" is controversial with "government." Of course it is comprised of individual men, but I am refering to the institution itself. That is, one legal entity which the individual men form for this purpose, so perhaps substitute "institution" or "organization" if it clears up anything.

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But you were explaining the monopoly of force. In what sense is there a monopoly of force? Since the government is made of individual citizens who take it upon themselves to administer justice in the legal system, or are compensated financially by other individual citizens to do so, where does the monopoly of force reside? It must be in the "single system". But can such a system exist? Or do allowances need to be made for differences of opinion about how to cope with the criminal element on a town-to-town basis, a city-to-city basis, and so on?

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Or perhaps I should back up even further. Do not allowances need to be made on a family-to-family basis? Of course, there we have biological proprietorship, which complicates matters, but if one brother commits some minor infraction against another, it is the family unit that rules on the matter as the members of that unit see fit. If one brother steals 5 dollars from the other, there isn't some universal law which tells us what to do about it. It was a crime. But what is the objective punishment? The "anarcho-capitalist" position does not give us an answer, but neither does Objectivism. I'm not saying there is no answer, I'm saying what it is I don't know.

And perhaps the best we can do in some of these situations is admit our own ignorance and fallibility. I don't think we want the government imposing what it considers to be an objective ruling on ever familial matter. We want "family court" rather. Growing up, my family had "family court". I thought it was silly of course. But it was implicitly guiding the course of our lives everyday, I just didn't realize it. We don't want the single "entity" government imposing a universal solution. That sounds to me meddlesome and inefficient. I doubt I would get much argument on that particular point.

I'm listening to "Everybody Knows" - Leonard Cohen. I think it is pushing me over the edge.

Edited by Brian9

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I doubt it would have even come to being. Kind of my point, that through her novels we have the metadata of the development of Objectivism.

Why is you and I having metadata necessary for the existence of Ayn Rand's non-fiction works?

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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Why is you and I having metadata necessary for the existence of Ayn Rand's non-fiction works?

My thoughts exactly.

I think volco is confusing Objectivism, by which I mean the Philosophy as an independent concept, with the containers that describe that philosophy.

If Ayn Rand only spoke with Leonard Peikoff, writing nothing, publishing nothing, and Peikoff wrote OPAR, Objectivism would still be what it is - a wholly integrated philosophy.

If Objectivism were the bullet, the books, articles, papers, etc would only be the gun used to fire it. The bullet would still be what it was defined by Rand. It would just not have been fired to the audience who received it. It would, thus, simply be less well known. (Almost unheard of, most likely).

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I can remember hearing Ayn talk about how she wanted to give the world her picture of man as a heroic being. She wanted to give the world her novels, she considered herself primarily a novelist. When she found there was no satisfactory philosophy that she could use to accomplish that end, she had to philosophize for herself. Volco just wants to remember that. If you want to say Objectivism would less well known without her novels, that is true, but Volco is unhappy with leaving it there. Objectivism would lose it's art. The thing Ayn wanted to share with us. I hear Volco saying, "Roark above the waterfall!". And your response is something like, "strictly speaking, that isn't Objectivism", it is only a container. Give me a break.

Now, can we please talk about the issue the OP raised, and the one I want to talk about. What did Rand mean by monopoly of force?

I now also remember that it was a sense of life that she saw around her growing up. Perhaps in Russia, or perhaps (what seems more likely, but I can't remember) predominantly from imported American films. She probably saw it deteriorating and wanted to preserve, reinforce, and renew it.

Edited by Brian9

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Even if a government makes provisions for its citizenry to make a citizen's arrest - the government still has the monopoly of force to determine if the individual acted appropriately.

Under the rule of law, the agents charged with enforcing that law (by pay in the case of a policeman, or by volunteering as in a citizen's arrest) are bound by the same law, their actions to be evaluated by the rule of law to be judged as having been executed appropriately or not.

It is the 'rule of law' that holds the monopoly on force by outlining where/when/how the use of force is permitted. If the force is misapplied (initiated wrongfully), it is the 'rule of law' to determine that it has, and to bring about justice, by the use of force if necessary.

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I'm always a bit baffled by why people seem to freight this sort of decision with such tremendous weight. Objectivism is a specific system of philosophical principles. If you understand and agree with them, then you're an Objectivist. If you don't, you aren't. That's simple enough. Whether you are rational and honest or irrational and dishonest depends entirely on the basis of your disagreement. If, to the best of your own ability and knowledge, you think you have identified an error or contradiction in the principles of Objectivism, then you should go by your own judgment and you are entirely rational and honest in doing so. If you're wrong, you'll figure it out on your own in due course, and reality will make you pay for the error.

It's worth pondering the distinctions between the following cases:

1) Disagreement with the actual philosophical principles of Objectivism.

2) Disagreement with the way these principles are applied to specific concretes by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

3) Disagreement with the way these principles are formulated and defended by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

4) Disagreement about the tactics and strategy used to advance these principles in the culture by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

I think that (1) is the only thing that makes a person a non-Objectivist. (2), (3) and (4) may influence whether a person publicly describes themselves as one, or associates with the various organizations founded by Objectivists to advance the philosophy in various parts of the culture, but whether you are one is purely a matter of what you believe and why.

There's no shame in disagreement, as long as it's done honestly. I know some prominent Objectivists, like Paul Hsieh, who spent years chewing over various disagreements with Rand's philosophical principles before ultimately deciding they were true. I don't hold that against him -- quite the contrary. I greatly admire his intellectual integrity.

I have been at this for a long time and it wasn't until recently that I decided to take a different approach to learning Objectivism because I am not satisfied with my level of understanding of it. I think that it's tough to say you fully agree with Ayn Rand's philosophy until you've learned it through induction. Likewise, it's easy to say you disagree with certain aspects of Objectivism while misinterpreting them or not fully understanding them.

One could say, "I disagree with this aspect of Objectivism insofar as I understand it". Problem is, if it wasn't learned through induction, how strongly are you willing or able to defend your disagreement?

Likewise, when you agree, are you able to show how you arrived at your conclusion? Or, have you merely memorized what you read out of the many books on the subject?

In this example, do you really understand the nature of rights in the role and function of Government? That's not meant to be insulting. I think it actually happens frequently that Oists have some grasp, and may even have a very good grasp, of an Objectivist principle but perhaps have not "nailed it".

David

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So is fair to say that you would ascribe the monopoly of force to such an abstract notion as the law?

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. My point is simply that if individuals can use force to stop crimes, and other individuals pay certain other individuals who wear badges to make sure that the first group of individuals were applying force correctly, then it seems like everyone involved, and I mean everyone, is not only morally responsible for the use of force, but actually prepared to use it.

I'll give my opinion now about what I think Rand means by monopoly of force. What I understand from her is that government agencies should be the only agencies to use force.

But what happens when the people exercise self-defense? They are agents of moral force. And Rand is okay with that. Rand is okay with individuals enforcing the law. Indeed, how can one not be since we are all individuals. Saying that the government allows us to exercise self-defense is backwards. We allow the government to defend us rather.

EDIT: That is what it says in the constitution, right? We the people find it necessary to form a government to protect our individual rights? Not, we the government find it necessary to protect the people. Rights are derived from the people. There is no monopoly of force, the individual people get together and organize their force and establish objective rules, but it remains clear to me, that the people could not sustain a government, could not create one in the first place, if they themselves were not the primary (and only truly real) agents of moral force

EDIT AGAIN: Saying that the government allows us to exercise self-defense is not backwards, if you understand that it was "we, the people" who allowed the government to tell us what to do in the first place. So, we are in a sense allowing the government to allow us to defend ourselves. But that is a rather convoluted way of looking at the relationship.

Edited by Brian9

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I can remember hearing Ayn talk about how she wanted to give the world her picture of man as a heroic being. She wanted to give the world her novels, she considered herself primarily a novelist. When she found there was no satisfactory philosophy that she could use to accomplish that end, she had to philosophize for herself. Volco just wants to remember that. If you want to say Objectivism would less well known without her novels, that is true, but Volco is unhappy with leaving it there. Objectivism would lose it's art. The thing Ayn wanted to share with us. I hear Volco saying, "Roark above the waterfall!". And your response is something like, "strictly speaking, that isn't Objectivism", it is only a container. Give me a break.

YES. Thanks, that is EXACTLY how I feel.

Now, can we please talk about the issue the OP raised, and the one I want to talk about. What did Rand mean by monopoly of force?

I now also remember that it was a sense of life that she saw around her growing up. Perhaps in Russia, or perhaps (what seems more likely, but I can't remember) predominantly from imported American films. She probably saw it deteriorating and wanted to preserve, reinforce, and renew it.

Let's never forget about those two influences. Foreigners immigrating to America can truly appreciate its value; and foreigners watching the image America used to project to the World (specially through the Silver Screen) are very susceptible to idealism.

As far as I understand it; Ayn Rand meant that just as every negative or natural right (living life, producing value) can be performed better by private individual citizens - thus the call for privatization of schools, industries, things that man takes out of nature, or voluntarily out of each other) ; Then all the other rights, for instance, the right NOT to be taken your life away; should be a public matter.

A PUBLIC matter means it has to be handled by the authority that enforces the law. In a Geographically restriced area, we should call that The Government. This Government can be from contractual to totalitarian, from organized to spontaneous (the latter being what some call Anarchy as is indeed the weakest form of goverment).

When life is private, and can remain so (by not risking subjects outside your private sphere) then all issues can be resolved privately, be it in family court, friend's court, or Church or Company court.

When a situation threatens your neighbor and thuys the fabric of this reduct of civilization it becomes public.

Unlike a household, all public spaces lack the kinship and trust among its members, that's how it should be defined. The Public Thing, is literally translated and pormanteaued to Latin: Res Publica, Republic.

When Ayn Rand wrote her theory there was only one country where the Public Space, the Republic was civilied enough: The United States of Americ.

But Obectivism is not a philosophy for An American Citizen in the USA during the Cold War but for Man on Earth.

P.S. I'm not infallible.

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Double post.

But addressing self defense: Being Rational is also not being Dogmatic, and in Ayn Rand's words, avoiding context dropping.

In a densely populated place under a decent government A.R. would not be pro self-defense as we are dealing with the context of Civilization.

In an Atlas Shrugged Scenario (most of the real world right now), in the Gulch, isolated from an oppresive Government, self defense would probably be the default way to go.

The above statement is not taken from any work by Ayn Rand and is not sanctioned by her estate.

Edited by volco

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And I agree with Ayn Rand that you might have a right to own a rifle, but you probably have no right to own a handgun.

Do you have a source for Rand's statement to this effect? If so, I might have to leave, too.

But I doubt you can source this assertion. Just curious, what kind of rifle do you approve of? Certainly not an "assault" rifle.

(edit: typo)

Edited by agrippa1

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Ditto. But even if Ayn Rand did say something to that effect, that IS something, strictly speaking, I wouldn't consider a part of Objectivism. Love Rand as I do, she was human and therefore capable of saying strange things.

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Ditto. But even if Ayn Rand did say something to that effect, that IS something, strictly speaking, I wouldn't consider a part of Objectivism. Love Rand as I do, she was human and therefore capable of saying strange things.

And isn't her being HUMAN what makes her even more awesome? and self-styled? The first Intellectual Pop Star

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And isn't her being HUMAN what makes her even more awesome? and self-styled? The first Intellectual Pop Star

Ayn Rand, the voice of reason. It is amazing how gifted she was at speaking and writing clearly on HEAVY psychological issues. How comfortable she was, how in her element she was discussing reason and philosophy, and sometimes doing standing on only one foot. I rewatched an interview of her on the Phil Donahue show, last night. He was being contemptible towards her, but she just let it roll off her back, didn't get mad, and was very pleasant.

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Ayn Rand, the voice of reason. It is amazing how gifted she was at speaking and writing clearly on HEAVY psychological issues. How comfortable she was, how in her element she was discussing reason and philosophy, and sometimes doing standing on only one foot. I rewatched an interview of her on the Phil Donahue show, last night. He was being contemptible towards her, but she just let it roll off her back, didn't get mad, and was very pleasant.

Maybe it was the age, maybe the recent loss of her husband, but in that interview she conquers the audience and Phil, in the end leaving as a lovely old lady with the youngest Promethean eyes.

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Maybe it was the age, maybe the recent loss of her husband, but in that interview she conquers the audience and Phil, in the end leaving as a lovely old lady with the youngest Promethean eyes.

Perhaps it was the philosophic bankruptcy of her adversaries that enhanced to those who observed it, the gracefulness and manuverability of one who has so well masterfully integrated her art.

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