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Dormin111

What is ARI's current explicit view on "libertarianism"?

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But it is ignorant statements like this, backed with no relevant evidence or citations or specifics and with the kind of moralistic, inquisitorial tone that turns average people off to Rand's philosophy. If anything, the average person interested in liberty is prone to be swayed towards the cool-headed and gentlemanly Ron Paul, or the lucid and upbeat tone of Murray Rothbard, and everyone probably can provide examples of "Randroids" who seem like the "crazies" who are becoming "less influential" every day. It's a shame really.

You're comparing rationalistic Internet users who claim to be Objectivists to personable public figures who ascribe to some of Objectivism's tenants but also to positions totally contrary to Objectivism, such as Ron Paul's pacifist/rosy glasses idea of foreign policy. Choosing Ron Paul over Yaron Brook (which it looks like you're doing) is just as bad as the "Randroids" you say fill/support the ARI. It's fine to criticize some Objectivists' ideas on modern libertarianism, but let's keep it real all the way around.

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You're comparing rationalistic Internet users who claim to be Objectivists to personable public figures who ascribe to some of Objectivism's tenants but also to positions totally contrary to Objectivism, such as Ron Paul's pacifist/rosy glasses idea of foreign policy. Choosing Ron Paul over Yaron Brook (which it looks like you're doing) is just as bad as the "Randroids" you say fill/support the ARI. It's fine to criticize some Objectivists' ideas on modern libertarianism, but let's keep it real all the way around.

I don't see anywhere where anyone is comparing "internet users" to "public figures" or what this discussion has to do with Ron Paul's foreign policy, or what I personally believe. Really we're going to respond with something like "what you say may have some truth, but you support Ron Paul which is just as bad!" Poisoning the well and ad hominem is a logical fallacy you know?

 

But in any event, let us read my statement again to keep it real. I am analyzing the statements of Yaron Brook. Yaron makes vague claims about what he considers to be libertarians that he doesn't like, then he says these people are losing influence. So the only thing I am comparing in the section you quote is the influence of Objectivists, especially those affiliated with ARI, and the influence of who I take these libertarians that Yaron clearly hates to be. I think Ron Paul is much more influential than ARI. (Note that this doesn't even imply the creepy statement that one has "chosen Ron Paul over Yaron Brook" not that that would have any relevance whatsoever.)

Edited by 2046

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But in any event, let us read my statement again to keep it real. I am analyzing the statements of Yaron Brook.

Ok. You wrote: "If anything, the average person interested in liberty is prone to be swayed towards the cool-headed and gentlemanly Ron Paul, or the lucid and upbeat tone of Murray Rothbard." I guess Yaron Brook has no positive qualities you'd like to mention.

You're not just "analyzing" what Yaron Brook said of libertarians. You've also got a lousy tone which suggests things other than what your explicitly writing.

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Ok. You wrote: "If anything, the average person interested in liberty is prone to be swayed towards the cool-headed and gentlemanly Ron Paul, or the lucid and upbeat tone of Murray Rothbard." I guess Yaron Brook has no positive qualities you'd like to mention.

You're not just "analyzing" what Yaron Brook said of libertarians. You've also got a lousy tone which suggests things other than what your explicitly writing.

Well there you have it, I think this can pretty much speak for itself. I'm really sorry that you're disappointed I didn't compliment Yaron or that you think my tone is lousy and that my words mean things other than what they mean. I can't really help you there.

 

In any event, I do think the overly moralistic and inquisitorial tone many Objectivists adopt is detrimental, and many libertarian scholars do not have this problem. Also, taking criticisms of Objectivists personal and adopting an adversarial attitude towards criticism is contrary to the spirit of intellectual inquiry and the ethics of debate. I think many Objectivists fail on this account. So yes, I do think the average person interested in liberty is much more swayed by certain speakers over others.

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I'm really sorry that you're disappointed I didn't compliment Yaron or that you think my tone is lousy and that my words mean things other than what they mean. I can't really help you there.

In any event, I do think the overly moralistic and inquisitorial tone many Objectivists adopt is detrimental, and many libertarian scholars do not have this problem.

So, other Objectivists should be judged on tone, just not you.

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2046 has valid points.  When I started to hunt around for websites to check out I bumped into Objectivist sites that were pretty brutal in tone and judgment.  You'd think that Libertarians, and some Objectivists in fact, were worse than Obama or Bush if measured by the tone (not to mention the real-estate spent denouncing them).  

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Here is Biddle’s most recent comment on Objectivists associating with libertarians:

 

“None of this is to say that radical capitalists and libertarians should never engage or work together. It can be perfectly principled for radical capitalists to engage with libertarians, so long as in doing so we do not blur the distinctions between the respective ideologies. If the goal of the engagement is morally legitimate—say, to educate libertarians as to the need of philosophy in defense of liberty, or to encourage people to ask their representatives to support the repeal of a rights-violating law, or the like—and if radical capitalists do not make any concessions to the effect that philosophy is unnecessary in defense of liberty, engaging with libertarians can be profoundly good. (I have twice spoken at Students For Liberty events, where I’ve discussed the need for a moral and philosophic defense of liberty, and I’ll continue speaking to libertarians who are willing to consider such ideas.)”

 

From “Libertarianism vs. Radical Capitalism” in the latest issue of TOS.

 

The prior quotation from Yaron Brook strongly suggests that he agrees with Biddle.

 

Contrast this with Peter Schwartz in “On Sanctioning the Sanctioners,” published in 1989:

 

Justice demands moral judgment. It demands that one objectively evaluate Libertarianism, and act in accordance with that evaluation. It demands that one identify Libertarianism as the antithesis of—and therefore as a clear threat to—not merely genuine liberty, but all rational values. And it demands that Libertarianism, like all such threats, be boycotted and condemned...

 

"Thus, the “benefits” of speaking to Libertarian groups are as nonexistent as the “benefits” of exhibiting books at an Iranian fair. The Libertarian movement is not some innocuous debating club…

 

Does this restrict the options open to Objectivist speakers? Certainly…”

 

Of course, Peikoff endorsed Schwartz’s view in his own paper, “Fact and Value,” and proceeded to officially “expel” David Kelley from the Objectivist Movement for the heinous crime of speaking to a libertarian group.

 

Biddle’s new article makes clear that libertarianism continues to embrace all of the bizarre, irrationalist nonsense condemned by Schwartz in 1989.  To say that “official Objectivism” (so to speak) has not reversed its’ position on speaking to libertarian groups is clearly a misrepresentation of the truth and a rewriting of Objectivist history.

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To say that “official Objectivism” (so to speak) has not reversed its’ position on speaking to libertarian groups is clearly a misrepresentation of the truth and a rewriting of Objectivist history.

These days I don't think there is any "official" Objectivism. When Objectivists get in their fights, there seems to be an even distribution of supporters for the respective sides.

But, what does it matter, really? If both sides just focused on the facts and worried less about the personalities involved, and didn't get their feelings hurt so easily, these fights wouldn't last and the quibbling over unimportant issues might be less frequent.

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Here is Biddle’s most recent comment on Objectivists associating with libertarians:

 

“None of this is to say that radical capitalists and libertarians should never engage or work together. It can be perfectly principled for radical capitalists to engage with libertarians, so long as in doing so we do not blur the distinctions between the respective ideologies. If the goal of the engagement is morally legitimate—say, to educate libertarians as to the need of philosophy in defense of liberty, or to encourage people to ask their representatives to support the repeal of a rights-violating law, or the like—and if radical capitalists do not make any concessions to the effect that philosophy is unnecessary in defense of liberty, engaging with libertarians can be profoundly good. (I have twice spoken at Students For Liberty events, where I’ve discussed the need for a moral and philosophic defense of liberty, and I’ll continue speaking to libertarians who are willing to consider such ideas.)”

 

From “Libertarianism vs. Radical Capitalism” in the latest issue of TOS.

 

The prior quotation from Yaron Brook strongly suggests that he agrees with Biddle.

 

Contrast this with Peter Schwartz in “On Sanctioning the Sanctioners,” published in 1989:

 

Justice demands moral judgment. It demands that one objectively evaluate Libertarianism, and act in accordance with that evaluation. It demands that one identify Libertarianism as the antithesis of—and therefore as a clear threat to—not merely genuine liberty, but all rational values. And it demands that Libertarianism, like all such threats, be boycotted and condemned...

 

"Thus, the “benefits” of speaking to Libertarian groups are as nonexistent as the “benefits” of exhibiting books at an Iranian fair. The Libertarian movement is not some innocuous debating club…

 

Does this restrict the options open to Objectivist speakers? Certainly…”

 

Of course, Peikoff endorsed Schwartz’s view in his own paper, “Fact and Value,” and proceeded to officially “expel” David Kelley from the Objectivist Movement for the heinous crime of speaking to a libertarian group.

 

Biddle’s new article makes clear that libertarianism continues to embrace all of the bizarre, irrationalist nonsense condemned by Schwartz in 1989.  To say that “official Objectivism” (so to speak) has not reversed its’ position on speaking to libertarian groups is clearly a misrepresentation of the truth and a rewriting of Objectivist history.

Growing signs of a maturing philosophy. (Thanks for that and for Biddle's terrific article, Dennis.)

 

To any libertarian (or religious person) who asks, or at all seems interested, it is in fact a golden opportunity to state unequivocally and confidently what "radical capitalism" stands for as distinct from libertarian capitalism (or Faith-based capitalism) .

This is far less a "sanction" of any irrationalities, and much more a calmly proud self-assertion. Where there are brief intersections and agreement, I think those should be emphasized; after which one may examine the glaring differences: Always without compromise.

The alternative is to retreat to an intellectual ivory tower - and that IS contradictory to the nature of the philosophy.

As much as they choose to be, individual Objectivists are 'ambassadors', more than ever now, Imo. 

Edited by whYNOT

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An interesting point is that Objectivist officaldom has come full circle in half a century.  In the March 62 Objectivist Newsletter BB made the familiar Objectivist case against religious conservatism and went on to say that one's disapproval of conservatives' religiosity does not preclude joining political alliances with them - as long as one keeps religion and politics separate.  This looks to me like what the Biddle is saying and what Schwartz and Peikoff denied.

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Growing signs of a maturing philosophy. (Thanks for that and for Biddle's terrific article, Dennis.)

You're welcome, Tony.  BTW, in his article, Biddle talks about Bryan Caplan, a libertarian pacifist.  Caplan used to attend an intellectual srudy group for Objectivists which I ran back in the late 1980s in Los Angeles.  He was a briliant youngster and we had numerous late hour discussions at coffee shops.

 

Where oh where did I go wrong????

Edited by Eiuol
fixed quote formatting

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Of course, when David Kelley tried to do the same things with Libertarians that Biddle now allows for, he was denounced as being subconsciously motivated by a desire to defang Objectivism by having it conflated with Libertarianism.  It's curious if Biddle would have said the same things he did in that article had he not also felt ARI's (read: Peikoff's) wrath over the John McCaskey controversy, and therefore has nothing to lose.  I'll say this for him though:  at least he's willing to discuss - if not admit - the issues that make him a transparent hypocrite.  The ARI personnel won't even do that.  When they associate with "faith-based capitalists", it's just supposed to be accepted without any derision.

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"With the rising influence of Ron Paul, there are more Rothbarians and anarchists than ever, and their influence is only growing, and their scholarship is of a vastly greater quality and quantity than anything ARI is putting out." (quotiing 2046)

 

I second this observation.  I started reading Lewrockwell.com in 2007 and the Mises roster of academics. It's pages long.  They definitely have their game face on and are making progress. They also make their intellectual products freely available first to generate interest in hard copy versions. It's an interesting and apparently successful strategy.

 

The whole attack on entering politics left politics in the hands of Paul Ryan and Obama. This is why the more books Ayn Rand sells, the more statist the country gets. The idea that only libertarians would penetrate something so dirty as politics is a sort of Puritanism. The communists jumped right into politics and "seized" the day. 

 

There are opportunities, today and all the time, but some are too frigid to give that a thought.  

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Here is Biddle’s most recent comment on Objectivists associating with libertarians:

 

“None of this is to say that radical capitalists and libertarians should never engage or work together. It can be perfectly principled for radical capitalists to engage with libertarians, so long as in doing so we do not blur the distinctions between the respective ideologies. If the goal of the engagement is morally legitimate—say, to educate libertarians as to the need of philosophy in defense of liberty, or to encourage people to ask their representatives to support the repeal of a rights-violating law, or the like—and if radical capitalists do not make any concessions to the effect that philosophy is unnecessary in defense of liberty, engaging with libertarians can be profoundly good. (I have twice spoken at Students For Liberty events, where I’ve discussed the need for a moral and philosophic defense of liberty, and I’ll continue speaking to libertarians who are willing to consider such ideas.)”

 

From “Libertarianism vs. Radical Capitalism” in the latest issue of TOS.

 

The prior quotation from Yaron Brook strongly suggests that he agrees with Biddle.

 

Contrast this with Peter Schwartz in “On Sanctioning the Sanctioners,” published in 1989:

 

“Justice demands moral judgment. It demands that one objectively evaluate Libertarianism, and act in accordance with that evaluation. It demands that one identify Libertarianism as the antithesis of—and therefore as a clear threat to—not merely genuine liberty, but all rational values. And it demands that Libertarianism, like all such threats, be boycotted and condemned...

 

"Thus, the “benefits” of speaking to Libertarian groups are as nonexistent as the “benefits” of exhibiting books at an Iranian fair. The Libertarian movement is not some innocuous debating club…

 

Does this restrict the options open to Objectivist speakers? Certainly…”

 

Of course, Peikoff endorsed Schwartz’s view in his own paper, “Fact and Value,” and proceeded to officially “expel” David Kelley from the Objectivist Movement for the heinous crime of speaking to a libertarian group.

 

Biddle’s new article makes clear that libertarianism continues to embrace all of the bizarre, irrationalist nonsense condemned by Schwartz in 1989.  To say that “official Objectivism” (so to speak) has not reversed its’ position on speaking to libertarian groups is clearly a misrepresentation of the truth and a rewriting of Objectivist history.

Biddle's article scarcely reflects reality, and does far more to reinforce the view of Objectivists as a cartoonish echo chamber. 

 

In the first part, he asks:

Crucial unseen elements include the libertarian positions on where rights come from, how we know it, and whether objective, demonstrably true answers to such questions are necessary or even possible in defense of liberty. What are the libertarian positions on such matters?

 

 

Biddle is hopelessly confused. Libertarianism is the doctrine that force may not be initiated, in other words, that persons have rights. Asking for "the libertarian position" on the philosophical foundations of the view that persons have rights is like asking "what is the foundation of the view that persons have rights from the point of view that persons have rights?" One may adopt the view that persons have rights, i.e., libertarianism, but the foundation of this view can only be explained in terms outside of libertarianism. One would have to go outside of the view that X to find the foundations of the view that X, otherwise it would be circular. Different libertarians may have different views. 

 

Biddle then goes on to say

On examination of libertarian literature, we find that libertarians generally hold that rights are “self-evident,” or “God-given,” or somehow (yet inexplicably) “natural.”2

 

 

Really Biddle? No wonder this article is such a laughingstock. It creates such a magnificent strawman that one can only wonder how Biddle himself believes this is the case. Which libertarians believe rights are "somehow (yet inexplicably) natural"? I want to read where a libertarian says exactly that. He has a endnote, we can only wait with bated breath to see what lies in his reference.

 For example, see Boaz, Libertarianism: A Primer, pp. 62, 74; and Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1982), pp. 21–24.

 

 Umm... what? Where in either of these two works to the authors say anything that Biddle is ascribing to them?

 

In his sentence Biddle is ascribing three things to these passages.

 

1. Rights are self evident

2. Rights are God-given

3. Rights are "inexplicably natural" (whatever Biddle means by that)

 

If these three things cannot be found in those passages, then what are we to think? Biddle is a liar? Biddle is a hack? Biddle didn't/can't read?

 

Let us look at the page numbers.

 

In Rothbard on page 21 there follows a discussion of classical natural law theorists versus liberal theorists of the Lockean tradition, differences between Locke and his later expounders and followers, and finally ending up with a discussion of Thomas Jefferson and modern natural rights theorists. Nowhere does Rothbard make the claims Biddle is ascribing to him. Maybe I have a different version of the book than Biddle. But nowhere in the book at all does Rothbard claim any of the three propositions that Biddle is ascribing to him. In fact, the whole point of Rothbard's theory, much like Rand's, is to prove a rational ethics and politics is possible, and that "rights stem from the nature of man and the world around him" and that constantly states that ethics is "founded on rational inquiry" and that  "reason was the only legitimate tool for investigating man's nature and man's proper ends."

 

Rothbard favorably quotes from the Thomist philosopher Fr Coppleston

 
"there is therefore room for the concept of 'right reason,' 
reason directing man's acts to the attainment of the objective good for 
man." Moral conduct is therefore conduct in accord with right reason: "If 
it is said that moral conduct is rational conduct, what is meant is that it is 
conduct in accordance with right reason, reason apprehending the 
objective good for man and dictating the means to its attainrnent."13

 

 

So where does Rothbard claim rights are self evident, God given, or inexplicable?

 

What about Boaz? In page 62 of Boaz, the author is discussing "what rights do we have," he talks about communism in general, he talks about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, self ownership, private property, equality, homesteading, etc. Nowhere does it discuss the foundation of rights, except as a brief mentioning of Thomas Jefferson's belief that rights are not given by government, but come from God. Okay but why does Biddle think this view is coextensive with "libertarianism" as a whole? Why can't a libertarian, such as Ayn Rand for example, simply disagree?

 

Perhaps his edition of the Boaz book is different from mine. Perhaps he is talking about the earlier chapter "The roots of libertarianism." In this chapter follows a discussion of the historical roots of libertarian belief from what we know about ancient Chinese philosophers to Judeo-Christian belief to ancient Greek philosophy, Roman law, and so on. What in the word does this have to do with Biddle's claims of "the libertarian view holds that" as above? Does this not contradict that there is such thing as "the libertarian view" of "ignoring or denying the philosophic foundations of liberty"? Isn't it the case that Objectivism is a subset of libertarianism, and that there are many philosophic arguments for liberty from all the major philosophic traditions? In any event, where does Boaz claim any of the 3 points above?

 

Biddle also claims:

Many libertarians hold that rights are corollaries of “self-ownership” or of the idea that the individual’s life belongs to him, which they take to be an “axiom,” a self-evident truth, or an irreducible primary.3 And many hold that the evil or impermissibility of initiatory force is an axiom, the so-called “nonaggression axiom.”4

 

 

But this is laughable. Surely Biddle knows that simply by calling something by the word "axiom" contemporary philosophers do not mean the same thing that Ayn Rand did when she used the word "axiom." All endnotes once again cite Boaz and Rothbard, as if those are the only two books Biddle possesses, but nowhere in those books do the authors claim rights are an "irreducible primary" (Rand's words) or a "self evident truth." Biddle is either totally clueless or completely dishonest, or both.

 

We may never know. But the real question for Objectivists to discuss is this: Why is there such a push from these kinds of ARI-affiliated, perhaps more "elder" Objectivists from that sort of generation, to draw a distinction that sort of goes like, there is "Libertarianism" (most of the time, with a capital L) which "ignor[es] or den[ies] the philosophic foundations of liberty" (Biddle's actual words) and there is Objectivism on the other hand, which holds that liberty is founded requirements of man's nature for flourishing? In the article, this is sort of assumed to be the categorization without argument. If libertarianism is simply the view that force may not legitimately be initiated (the so-called nonagression principle), then there are many types of libertarians with many different kinds of foundational beliefs, including those of the Aristotelian tradition, and Biddle's article would have been much more useful instead of a cartoonish Objectivist attack on a phantom "the libertarian view" (as if there were one singular view, even though this contradicts much of his own article) but more of a discussion between libertarians as to why libertarians should be Aristotelian-Randians, instead of say, Christian libertarians, or nihilistic ones, or subjectivist ones, or whatever the case may be.

 

In Biddle's own article The Libertarian Case for Legalized Plunder he cites Zwolinski's argument for a basic income guarantee as "an example" of "of ignoring or denying the philosophic foundations of liberty." But Biddle is so confused and makes nonsensical claims. Zwolinski does not ignore or deny that liberty has philosophic foundations, Zwolinski does not claim that liberty is self evident, or God given, or inexplicable, or has no foundation. Zwolinksi just has a different foundation than Biddle. Zwolinski is a left-libertarian, and is making his argument for a basic income guarantee on the grounds of restitution for past injustices, not any of the things that Biddle is ascribing. Why can't Objectivists actually, you know, read stuff and just represent stuff for what it is, instead of creating cartoon arguments and throwing in plenty of Randroid cliches (Biddle literally interjects "A is A" in his arguments) and rehashed points (an argument quoting Rand on egalitarianism when Zwolinski's argument has nothing to do with egalitarianism.)

Edited by 2046

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Biddle is hopelessly confused.

...

If these three things cannot be found in those passages, then what are we to think? Biddle is a liar? Biddle is a hack? Biddle didn't/can't read?

"Hopeless confusion" obviously leads us to the fourth (omitted, but we'll forgive you) option we are "to think": Biddle is an idiot!

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This is old, but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in: 

Rand worked with, or supported a lot of people that we'd consider libertarian: Mises, Hazlitt, Goldwater etc. Often times when she proclaimed her support or recommended their works, she was quick to point out that she thought these people's works were useful, but that she was often opposed to them on philosophical grounds. So as Rand saw, and I think most objectivists should see, that we can work with libertarians. 

For the most part though, I still don't see much for objectivists to gain when dealing with libertarians in the grand scheme of things - objectivists would have to be working on the libertarians . Ayn Rand thought the problem with the Classical Liberal tradition and it's derivatives was the lack of a strong philosophical base on which Capitalism was founded and defended. Libertarianism doesn't really have a focus or interest on the issue. There is very little talk or interest in issues pertaining to metaphysics and epistemology. Since those foundations are often weak in libertarianism and non-existent, moral debates and arguments are almost always deduced from political arguments or history. Thus if a libertarian wants to defend Capitalism, he often finds himself defending capitalism in opposition to say communism, rather than an objectivist that defends capitalism based on the nature of knowledge and reason. 

I generally like Libertarians, but I do see what Rand saw, that they were too eager to rush into politics, rather than to address philosophical issues, which is ironic, since among conservatives, they are often considered the most abstract-minded and intellectual. That said, it shows what seems to be the major problem with the right, which is a lack of faith in the mind's ability to solve political and institutional issues (which has been the case since Burke - so no surprises there), and thus the desire to default to tradition and faith when such problems present themselves. Alas, this is why in 2018, we have Trump dominating the Republican party. 

 

 

 

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In the introduction to the Objectivist Forum series, Ayn Rand wrote that Objectivism is a closed philosophy.  Apparently David Kelley didn't read this, because he was surprised to learn from Peikoff that Objectivism is a closed philosophy.

Here's what Ayn Rand said at  the end of that introduction:

Quote

If you wonder why I am so particular about protecting the integrity of the term "Objectivism," my reason is that "Objectivism" is the name I have given to my philosophy -- therefore, anyone using that name for some philosophical hodgepodge of his own, without my knowledge or consent, is guilty of the fraudulent presumption of trying to put thoughts into my brain (or of trying to pass his thinking off as mine -- an attempt which fails, for obvious reasons). I chose the name "Objectivism" at a time when my philosophy was beginning to be known and some people were starting to call themselves "Randists". I am much too conceited to allow such a use of my name.

(This made me feel a little bit of sympathy for Karl Marx who, on being told about some outrageous statements made by some Marxists, answered: "But I am not a Marxist.")

What is the proper policy on this issue? If you agree with some tenets of Objectivism, but disagree with others, do not call yourself an Objectivist; give proper authorship credit for the parts you agree with -- and then indulge in any flights of fancy you wish, on your own.

If you should ask why I take all these precautions, while other philosophers do not, I shall answer: today -- when modern philosophers reject the concepts of reason, existence, reality, logic, proof, knowledge, integration, system, and regard philosophy as a verb, not a noun (they are not studying or creating philosophy, they are "doing" it) -- mine is the only philosophic system that holds consistency as a necessary virtue.

Therefore, the moment you begin to promote a venue for Libertarian ideas (which means that indirectly you are making these statements), then you can't put everything under the rubric of Objectivism.  There needs to be a separating line, that is made clear to the audience, of which ideas are Objectivism, and which are not.  But this doesn't happen in David Kelley's conferences. They present all sorts of speakers there, and it would not be clear to he laymen audience which ideas are Ayn Rand's and which are of the speaker.

 

Edited by Boris Rarden

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"There needs to be a separating line..." For sure. While I know little about Kelley's conferences, apart from an invite occasionally as I will receive sometimes from ARI, I would think that all attendees well know tacitly about his Society's Objectivist core. May it be that this obvious fact doesn't have to be re-stated at every conference, nor the basic differences with libertarianism? Only asking, I don't know. 

On more general lines, I'm strongly in favor of speaking with any and all in one's individual capacity. Assuming one makes oneself and ideas clear from early on, and while finding some common ground (as can happen often) would stay firm to the fundamentals or derivative principles of Objectivism. Actually, in opposing collectivism and group labels, all exchanges of ideas, "official" and not, always involve an individual and individual minds to an Objectivist- in a small group, large conference or one-on-one chats. Without intrinsic insight into whom is listening or debating with you, you initially (or ever) won't know enough to judge others' convictions, the strength of - or the depths of force -and evil- they'd be willing to go to to implement them: therefore, if and when to reject their ideas with clear disagreement, and in justice, remove yourself. Mostly unknowing too, of those minds whom your argument has impressed, stuck, and might have benefit to much later on in their future. With the many types and mixes of people and philosophical doctrines carried by others which we meet through life, the assertion that one is "sanctioning evil" by talking with and even befriending "Christians", "libertarians", etc. etc., is wrong-headed--and self-sacrificial. It will be a dull and unchallenging existence to not engage energetically with other disparate individuals who show interest, as one finds them. Any of them can be a source of value and knowledge and at least, of mental stimulus.   

Edited by whYNOT

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