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Introducing Don Galt

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Guest DonGalt

Hi I'm Don Galt. You could say I'm John's obnoxious, hot-headed, clear-thinking, more practical brother. Or, I could say that.

Its always interesting how many people assume that Don Galt is an alias (and how many people misread it as John Galt) and I've gotten a lot of heat for having this name.

I once had an objectivist mailing discussion list demand that I gove my "real name" in order to discuss with them. I tried to talk it over with them, but they were not very responsive, so eventually I just signed up under an alias-- the name of the author of a book I was reading at the time.

They were ok with that, because they assumed it was my real name.

I think the point of the internet is that the person's ideas, rather than their name should be more important... so why am I talking about my name rather than my ideas? I guess its in expectation of some flack... but, its also to bring up the topic that is formost on my mind these days:

People have a lot of trouble being rational. They'd rather divert attention to names than deal with issues. Even when you try to deal with the issues-- and I'm guilty of this-- it can often endup being dysfunctional because what you think they are saying isn't what they are really saying. And many people are so practiced at evasion, that they have trouble focusing even when they are trying.

And adding to this is the prevalence of corrupted institutions-- you're familiar with the "Big lie" theory, right? Tell a big enough lie, and assume it as truth from teh get go, and people will argue about implications of the lie, rather than question whether it was a lie to begin with.

A good example is the libertarian party-- they want to end violations of the NAP by... violating the NAP! Courset here isn't a plethora of options for making the state moral that don't violate the NAP, so I can't hold it against them too long.

Another thing that I believe is the idea that any movement-- especoally of minorities-- should stick together rather than waste time infighting-- you never become the minority when you can't get your message out. This is in direct contradiction to the frustration and anger that comes with seeing hypocrisy, and the fundamental undermining of the movement by hypocritical organizations. A good example is the ARI / TOS split. Libertarians are not the enemies of objectivism-- all objectivists are libertarians by definition. ARI hurt the cause of objectivism by being so fanatical and irrational.

Ok,. I think that tells you enough about me.... hopefully this forum won't be dead for long...

Greetings.

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I don't care about what you name is, but I do care about what ideas you stated in that post, and I must say that they are wrong. Have you read Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty by Peter Schwartz? If you haven't, I highly suggest that you do because it would give you an indication of exactly why Objectivists denounce Libertarianism. More importantly, have you read Leonard Peikoff's essay, Fact and Value, which can be found on the ARI website? That essay is a good indication of exactly why there is an "ARI/TOS" split. What TOS advocates is very much subjectivist, and completely different than the fundamentals of "ARI" Objectivism. It's a moral crime for David Kelley and all of them to even refer to themselves as Objectivists. If you were looking for food in order to survive, would you eat half food and half poision in order to avoid infighting between food and poision? IF the "ARI camp" and the "TOS camp" were fundamentally the same, then there would be more merit to your claim. However, those two "camps" are fundamentally different, which Peikoff's essay, Fact and Value, demonstrates. "ARI" Objectivism, as far as I know, is good, and "TOS" Objectivism, as far as I know, is evil. Would you advocate the combination of good and evil in order to stave off some "infighting?" Obviously that's absurd. Read over those two essays if you haven't already. If you still believe in your claim, check your premises.

-Steve

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Guest DonGalt

Yes, I've checked my premises.

Leonard Peikoff is not ony not an objectivist, he doesn't even know what objectivism is.

Fact and Value? What a load of crap.

Objectivism is a philosophy defined by Ayn Rand in Galts Speech and Galts pledge.

Objectivism is not the sum total of every utterance and eye twitch of Ayn Rand. For instance, Rand said homosexuality was disgusting.

Thus you might goose step along and call homosexuals evil.

But you'd be wrong.

I'd say the biggest danger to objectivism was Rands mistake of nameing Peikoff heir-- that has done much to create the religion of Randism and alienate many people who would otherwise be objectivists.

A great example of this alienation is you calling libertarians evil-- but BY DEFINITION All objectivists are libertarians .

A libertarian is one who believes in the principle of non-aggression. Ayn Rand put this principle forward as an important part of objectivism.

Ok, now if you want to present an argument, feel free to do so. Appealing to authority doesn't count for me, and Fact and Value was a fallicious piece (And clearly the product of insecurty.)

The ironic thing is that Kelley's mortal crime was to reach out to non-objectivists and attempt to pursuade them to objectivism.

What the hell do you think Ayn Rand was doing when she wrote, first The Fountainhead and second Atlas Shrugged? And then continued writing for the rest of her life? According to Peikoff, she was giving sanction to every "Evil" person who read her work!

The ARI position doesn't hold water.... sorry.

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First, I just want to say that the only reason why I did not present an argument in the first place was because I have no idea about the extent of your knowledge of Objectivism and the things involved in the discussion. If you have read both of those two essays I described, these would be my arguments against what you said in the previous post.

When Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, her primary purpose for writing was not for the benefit of her potential readers whatsoever. Her purpose in writing was to illustrate the ideal man. HER PURPOSE IN WRITING WAS NOT TO "REACH-OUT TO NON-OBJECTIVISTS." Everything that she developed was a consequence of this purpose, including her entire philosophy. She realized, that in order to illustrate the ideal man, she would need to determine the ideal philosophy for the ideal man to hold, and thus Objectivism was formed.

To be an Objectivist per se, you do not have to agree with everything that Rand said, I agree with you on that point. HOWEVER, to call yourself a student or a member of any philosophical movement, you MUST agree with the fundamental principles of the philosophy involved. Just as you wouldn't call yourself a doctor if you didn't treat patients, you wouldn't call yourself an Objectivist if you reject any of their fundamental principles. By DEFINITION, all Objectivists ARE NOT LIBERTARIANS. Libertarians hold that liberty is a self-evident truth which is the fundamental right of all people. But they reject the need for any philosophy whatsoever, and therefore Libertarianism becomes just as subjective as the average philosophy or political movement. Instead of God being the self-evident truth to which all must sacrifice themselves, or society, etc; for the Libertarians, Liberty is the self-evident truth towards which all must sacrifice themselves to achieve. Not to mention, that the Libertarian party holds that The United States of America is the worst enemy to their "philosophy" in the entire world. Yes, Libertarians believe in many of the political principles that Objectivists do; however, Libertarians hold these political principles as self-evident truths with no philosophical justification whatsoever. Therefore, the only way to achieve the ends that Libertarians believe in is through the use of force. You can't get much un-Objectivist than that! You claimed that the primary principle of Libertarianism is that of non-aggression. Without any philosophical justification, the only way to get others to accept that principle is through the use of aggression, force! That is why Objectivism rejects Libertarianism at its root, because the only way to achieve the ends that Libertarians hope to achieve is through the use of force.

Finally, there is a great distinction between attempting to convince a person through reason and giving them moral sanction for their evil ideas. For example, if a person has reached the conclusion that Marxism is good through, what they claim, the use of thinking and reason, there is NOTHING WRONG with presenting arguments in the attempt to demonstrate to this person that his reasoning was flawed. In that case, you are appealing to the reasoning capacity of the person involved and there is nothing wrong with that. Yes, the person involved is still morally responsible for reaching the wrong conclusions with his own independent mind, but those conclusions that he drew in the past can be redeemed by recognizing the proper rational arguments. As long as you are appealing to the rationality of another person, there is nothing wrong with presenting arguments to them. HOWEVER, if you are dealing with a person who explicity denounces rationality and claims that they receive their correctness from divine inspiration or the consensus of society, AND you continue to try to argue with this person, you are giving moral sanction to their ideas. Do you understand the difference? In the second case, by continuing to argue with that person, you are saying, at least in some way, this his rejection of rationality is in some part correct. You are giving moral sanction to the idea that rationality is not the primary way of obtaining knowledge. THAT is a profound rejection of the fundamentals of Objectivism, and it is THAT which David Kelley and his "followers" commit. As long as you deal with others in terms of reason and rational arguments, there is nothing wrong with giving rational arguments. And it is the rationality of others that people like Peikoff, and others, appeal to when they are writing essays and columns, etc. But as soon as you resign yourself to deal with other people on terms outside the realm of reason, you are committing a moral crime, and you are certaintly NOT an Objectivist.

Keep checking your premises.

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I should add to the last paragraph of my previous post that just because you are appealing to the rationality of another person does not mean that you must not pronounce moral judgment on the ideas that the person holds. You should definitely pronounce moral judgment on the ideas that the person holds, but this does not mean that attempting to appeal to that person's rationality is a bad thing. If the ideas that the person holds = an purposeful evasion of reality, then it would be wrong to deal with that person. However, if that person's ideas are due to a mistake in knowledge, if that person is really committed to properly recognizing reality, then dealing with that person is not wrong.

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Guest DonGalt

Basically, your position is that you want to be able to define who is and who isn't an objectivist, based on your terms, with no requirement that you be rational. Your argument is one big rationalization.

By your argument, you are not an objectivist because you are talking to me. By your argument, Ayn Rand is not an objectivist because she wrote Atlas Shrugged, WITH THE FULL INTENTION that non-objectivists would read it. (She didn't just write it for herself, as you claimed, she went and got it published as well. The Fountainhead was rejected many times before it was published.) Your position is not consistent with the facts.

Finally, you redefine libertarianism in order to try to make your point. That is dishonest.

But ultimately, the most absurd thing is that there is a collectivist organization like the Ayn Rand institute that thinks it gets to decide for everyone who is, and is not, an individualist.

There is no tolerance in objectivism for your attempts to force others to live for your benefit-- in fact, that is directly opposed to objectivism.

Therefore, when you say anyone who does not force others to live for their benefit is evil, objectivsim says that YOU are the one who is evil.

If you had appeared in Atlas Shrugged, I suppsoe you would have killed Dagny Taggart when she first showed up in Galts Gulch. After all, she was trespassing, and not an objectivist.

But I do love the irony-- since you are pruposefully evading reality, you claim that I am evil for talking to you! But I refuse to give you my sanction-- I don't recongize your demand that I live my life for you, on your terms.

Objectivism is not a religion. Stop treating it as such and appealing to authority. You should be able to make an argument based on objectivism for your case (which you still haven't done. you've appealed to authority, and then regurgitated your authorities argument, without making any reference to objectivism.)

And please, don't lie. Its foolish. Libertarians do not reject the need for philosophy. After all, Libertarianism is based on a philosophic principle, which they share with Objectivism.

All objectivists are libertarians. They always will be. This is inehrent in the definition of both objectivism and libertarianism.

Not all libertarians are objectivist, sure. But all objectivists are libertarians. IF you aren't a libertarian, that menas you reject the NAP, and that means you also aren't an objectivist.

You can't be an objectivist and say that you have the right to make others live for your benefit-- which is what you say when you reject the NAP.

You have no choice here-- you can either evade these facts, redefine terms to suit you, or recognize that you've been living your life for someone not worthy of it, and start living it for yourself. And start thinking for yourself as well.

Sorry to treat you so harshly, but the stupidity of your position deserves it. Your'e getting a bit of the gruff due the previous idiots I've engaged who repeated these exact same un-thinking arguments at me (by rote!)

Maybe you should re-read atlas shrugged. Look at whats included in Galts speech, and what is not. Look at how the objectivist heros she presents in that novel treat each other. Especially notice how they treat non-objectivists.

Then compare that with the increasingly irrational fatwas from the ARI.

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So I suppose that no one can formulate an objective definition of who a doctor is, or a definition of who a philosopher is, or a definition of anything, because we can not define anything on our own terms? Definitions of terms are objective in nature based on the Law of Identity, A is A. Just as you can not claim that A is non-A, you can not claim that Objectivism is non-Objectivism. I would argue that in order to be considered to be a student or a member of a philosophy, you would need to agree with the fundamental concepts of the philosophy. In this instance, the fundamental concepts are: objective reality, reason, egoism, capitalism, and romantic realism. Would you agree with me on the point that these are the fundamental concepts of Objectivism, and that if you disagree with them, you can not properly refer to yourself as an Objectivist? (By the way, when I say you, I am not referring to you personally. You seem to have a good knowledge of Objectivism and you seem to think for yourself so I am not trying to assault you personally.)

By holding that rationality is the highest virtue mankind can attain, and reason is the only means of acquiring knowledge, if you were to comply with another person who explicity held the opposite, you would be sanctioning the opposite of your ideas. The reason that I am discussing this issue with you is because, it seems to me, that you believe in rationality as the highest virtue, and reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge. I am appealing to your rationality by presenting an argument of my own, and you are doing the same. If I am incorrect, I am willing to concede that fact, but my incorrectness would be based on a lack of proper knowledge, not the appeal to a higher power outside of reason. I hold the five fundamental concepts of Objectivism to be true, and therefore I refer to myself as an Objectivist.

It seems to me that you are failing to make the distinction between an error in knowledge and purposeful evasion. Objectivism does not require that one be omniscient. In order for it to be morally right for me to discuss this with you, I do not need to be omniscient, nor do you. What does have to be there, is the commitment to reason as the only means of persuasion and communication. So, when I discuss this with you, just because you may possibly be wrong does not give moral sanction to those wrong ideas. If discussion with any person that had incorrect ideas was immoral, all communication with others would be immoral because no one is omniscient. Do you see the fundamental distinction? It is moral to engage with a person who is actively pursuing the truth. It is immoral to engage with a person who is actively evading the truth.

Secondly, I repeat that Ayn Rand did not write Atlas Shrugged for the PRIMARY PURPOSE of communicating with her potential readers. The communication with her potential readers was a secondary consequence of the primary purpose of illustrating her image of the ideal man. Rand herself said this numerous times. Yes, this illustration of her ideal man included the publication of her works, but the publication of works for others was not her primary purpose. I'll use Roark as an example to demonstrate this. Roark created buildings for the primary purpose of his own selfish benefit. Others were able to benefit from this selfish desire that Roark had to create buildings, and so therefore Roark and his clients engaged in voluntary trade to mutual benefit. Did Roark ever care if others liked his work, or if his potential clients agreed with his work? Did he ever alter his work because of a request from a client? No. His primary purpose was the creation of the ideal. Same goes for Rand.

For the whole Libertarianism bit, I was referring to the Libertarian party, and it seems that you were referring to libertarianism, simply meaning the political philosophy of laissez-faire. A simple miscommunication, and my mistake. However, I do hold that the statements made by members of the Libertarian party coincide with what I said about the Libertarians. To believe in the philosophy of libertarianism does not necessarily mean that you believe in the ideology of the Libertarian Party. That was not my intention. Yes, Objectivists are all libertarians in the definition of the word as advocates of laissez-faire capitalism. But Objectivists are most certainly not anything like members of the Libertarian Party.

DO NOT CONFUSE FORCE WITH THE LAWS OF REALITY. It seems to me that you are saying that since Objectivism holds an objective definition, it is FORCING that definition onto others and this goes contrary to everything that Objectivism stands for. OBJECTIVITY IS NOT DOGMATISM or INTRINSICISM. If you continue with your line of logic, what right does Objectivism have to claim any objective truth whatsoever? Any claim to objective truth would be "forcing" that truth on other people. (If this is not what you intended, please correct me.) Objectivism holds that truth exists objectively, independent of any one human being. A is A not because the human mind says so, but because A is A outside of the human mind. The human mind, when properly perceiving reality, can identify this, and other truths. The process by which one discovers these truths is reason, and the process by which one convinces others of these truths is reason. One can disagree with the reasoning of the reasoner by pointing out contradictions in the reasoning process, but one can not say that one person is forcing another by attempting to demonstrate the truth. Objectivism holds that men have the power to think or not to think. Objectivism also holds that it is immoral to attempt to force a person to think. Only the individual can decide for himself whether to think or not to think, which means to attempt to properly perceive reality or not to properly perceive reality. This alternative is a requirement of man's nature, and therefore it can not be something that is forced upon another person by another. Therefore, individualism is individualism based on the facts of reality, not by the decree of ARI. You are 100% free to disagree with the reasoning behind ARI's perception of what the facts of reality truly are. But you can not escape the fact that individualism is individualism, A is A.

I do not understand this:

"There is no tolerance in objectivism for your attempts to force others to live for your benefit-- in fact, that is directly opposed to objectivism."

I do not attempt to force others to live for my benefit, I do not attempt to force others to live for their own benefit. If you meant something else by that statement, correct me.

I do not know what the NAP is, would you care to enlighten me?

Finally, just because I have stated arguments similar to those used by ARI does not mean that I am a blind follower of ARI and I just rehash their arguments. Please do not insult my intelligence when it is not warranted. I happen to agree with the arguments made by Rand and ARI based on my own reasoning and my own thinking. I do believe that it is rather rash to make the judgment that I do not think on my own just from a few lines of text and nothing else. I also find it insulting to make the claim that I am purposefully lying, that is completely unfair. I am committed to the correct identification of reality. I am not ominiscient, I make mistakes. If I have made a mistake in my reasoning now, in the past, or in the future, I will always strive to correct it. Do not make a hasty judgment and do not propogate false assumptions, it is insulting.

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Guest DonGalt

Well, thanks for the reasoned response. Your earlier response was much different, and I responded in kind, something I tend to do. Frankly, I've run into many "objectivists" whom I consider to be irrational, and I think this issue-- the cause of the split-- is a good litmus test for it. Which is why I brought it up- I confess to baiting.

The NAP, is the "Non-aggression principle"-- eg: It is always immoral it initiate force against someone. Galts pledge embodies this, and Rand spoke of it in other ways, and so I presume its safe to say you and I both agree that it is immoral to initiate force. (But not immoral to defend yourself.)

Essentially, libertarianism is the belief in the NAP. Since Objectivists believe in the NAP as well, then all objectivists are libertarians. This is true to the extent that trying to make a distinction between the two does not make sense. Peikoff presumes his conclusion when he presumes the distinction.

The libertarian party attempts to achieve a moral society by electing people who believe that it is immoral to initiate force.

Objectivism defines other criteria as part of the definition of objectivism (and I believe that Ayn Rand is not one of those criteria-- that is, her dislike of homosexuality does not make homosexuality immoral according to objectivism. I take the argument presented in Galts Speech as the core definition of Objectivism.)

The Libertarian Party errs by using democracy (which is essentially an organized initiation of force in itself-- the majority forcing the minority) to try and achieve a society consistent with the NAP.

But "Libertarians" invokes not just members of the LP (A minority of self-identified libertarians) but also anarcho-capitalists, agorists, and a large number of libertarians who haven't quite realized that minarchism is a NAP violation.

When David Kelley spoke to that LP meeting, he was not "comply"ing with "non-objectivism" (which I assume is what you were saying in his first paragraph). He was merely attempting to communicate with people who had self selected themselves as being open to objectivist ideas.

Rather than argue about other's arguments, I'd like for you to explain exactly how Objectivists are immoral when talkign to non-objectivists. Your most recent response says that they don't. So, how did Kelley betray objectivism by speaking at a LP meeting? (Dinner, or whatever it was.)

There are many objectivists who supported going to war with Iraq. I'm neutral on the topic (because there was justification for responding with force to the force initiated by Hussien, but at the same time, this war was funded thru funds obtained by taxation.) I think they have a problem with the fact that the war was waged using stolen money... objectivists can't really support taxation, and so the war is the fruit of a poisoned tree.

A private war, on the other hand, would be consistent with objectivism.

Another topic, related to this, is the tendency of objectivists to want to ostricate or decide for others, who is and who is not an objectivist.

If the definition of objectivism is clear (And I think it is, in Galts Speech) then all that should be necessary is to point out the error-- not engaging in "Holy wars" over who gets to use the word.

But I think the trap that the ARI (and I recognize the fallacy of generalization here) falls into is in defining objectivism as everything spoken by Rand. Rand made statements that do not mean the same thing today as they did then. (For instance, she couldn't have been talking about the libertarian party when she talked about libertarians, because the party hadn't yet been founded.) But she also made errors due to her cultural upbringing, or more specifically, what I would see as incorrect evaluations of reality.

For an example, she was not an anarchist and she decried anarchism... but I cannot see how you can have a society that is consistent with objectivism and it not be an anarchistic (anarcho-capitalistic, in fact) society.

Galts Gulch is a pretty clear anarchy-- there is no state, there is only freely entered agreements between the members.

I think sometimes people adopt Rands beliefs thinking they are objectivism, and fail to distinguish between the two.

And I can't explain Alan Greenspan at all!

Do you see what I'm getting at? If not, can you name specifically policies that libertarians hold that are not consistent with objectivism, but are consistent with libertarianism?

(I've had the opposite side of this argument, with people insisting that Objectivism is a cult, and that Objectivism glorifies rape, and other such stuff. A lot of potential energy and achievement is wasted by dividing lines between people who have relatively little to disagree over--- and a lot to disagree with the masses on.)

Don

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First, as to what you said about Objectivism and anarchism, the two are not compatible. Anarchism (correct me if I'm wrong) advcotes there being no government whatsoever, and like you said, results in pressure-group warfare. Galts Gultch was certainly not an anarchy. It did not embody the same principles of the ideal state/government according to Rand, but that was because it was not necessary in that society. The essential function of the proper government is to protect the fundamental right of all of its citizens: the right to their own lives. Because of the fact that man possesses free will, he requires a government to protect his natural right: the right to his own life. Since every man has free will (which includes the power to be rational or irrational) a government is created in order to protect the rational from the irrational (those who respect man's fundamental right and those who don't.) A government does not grant rights to man, it protects them. Because of this, Objectivism is not compatible with anarchism in any way, which includes all of the anti-concepts such as anarcho-capitalism.

Second, I appreciate your carefulness in terms of being wary of dealing with people who merely memorize Objectivism and then spout out everything that Rand said with no idea as to why. I am wary of anyone like that in any philosophical movement.

Third, I am unsure as to the distinction (if one exists) between libertarianism and the Libertarian Party. It is definitely something I will research further. My objections to the Libertarian Party, and others like it, is any notion that liberty is a self-evident truth, or rather, an axiom. As I believe Objectivism demonstrates (I will leave out why for the purpose of keeping this short) a philosophical justification is required for the advocacy of liberty. Claiming that liberty is a self-evident truth without philosophical justification is very dangerous for the same reasons that holding that sacrifice to others is a self-evident truth or the existence of God is a self-evident truth. If one holds that liberty must be self-evident, there is no defense against others who say, what if I disagree with this self-evident truth? Or I say that human sacrifice to others is a self-evident truth. If there is no philosophical justification for liberty (brought about through reason), the only other means of instituting and maintaing the society one wants is through the iniation of force, which is in violation of the NAP. Therefore, the NAP becomes self-defeating if it is held as a self-evident truth. Objectivism holds the NAP to be true for numerous philosophical reasons; whereas, as far as I know (again, correct me if I'm wrong), there is no one solid justification of the NAP according to libertarianism or the Libertarian Party.

Finally, as to the split in Objectivism, at this time, I do not know enough about it all to be sure of my opinion on it. However, it seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), that David Kelley holds that something is evil only if it is acted upon. If it is debated in one's own mind through the use of reason, then it is not evil. Again, correct me if I'm wrong. If this is accurate, then Kelley propogates a complete separation between ideas and reality. This seems to be the result of a variation of the mind-body dichotomy, which, applied to what Kelley says, means that ideas are separate from their consequences in reality. However, Objectivism rejects the mind-body dichotomy and says that every idea has a direct consequence in reality and therefore every idea must be judged accordingly. Thus, if you hold an incorrect idea (even if it was reached by the use of reason), it will have direct consequences in reality. Also, any evil act must be caused by an evil idea, the two can not be made to be separate. Therefore, since every idea causes an action, every evil idea correspondingly causes and evil action. Now, that's not saying that one must equally condemn every wrong idea. If one were to do that, one would equally condemn the next Hitler and a man who made a simple error in logic. The severity of how evil an idea must be judged should be determined by how irrational (anti-reality) it is. Objectivists recognize that the majority of the people that they deal with hold wrong (evil) ideas. Determining whether or not to deal with these people and try to change their ideas is dependent on primarily two things: the severity of the evil idea(s) and whether or not the person solely uses reason. Kelley accepts the second of these but rejects the first (again, correct me if I'm wrong.) By saying that he is open to dealing with a person who claims ANY ideas, just as long as they accept reason, Kelley is ignoring that all evil ideas have evil consequences in reality; and therefore he is giving moral sanction to the actions that those evil ideas cause. What do you think? I need to do a lot more research on it.

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I forgot to comment on the Objectivist position on the war with Iraq. In one sense, Objectivists agree with America's right to act in its own self-defense, therefore the war with Iraq is justified. However, Objectivists seem to believe that Iraq is not the biggest threat to America (with good reason), and we should not be afraid of civilian casualties in war. Also, as you pointed out, the war is funded by taxpayer money, which Objectivists disagree with. But, Objectivists realize that they will take their victories where they can take them, and should feel at least some accomplishment in the fact that we did actually engage in this war. While there are still a lot of things wrong with it, it's a step in a semi-right direction. Objectivists do not support the war 100%, but rather they support the legitimacy of the U.S. to act in their own self-defense (which is what this war is supposed to be all about.) I'm sure they are not happy that as the war began, its alleged purpose was changed to the altruistic goal of Iraqi freedom. Objectivists severely disagree with U.S. foreign policy for at least the past 50 years, so they are happy when they see the smallest deviation from our foreign policy of the past.

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Guest DonGalt

You cannot be an objectivist without being an anarchist. Government is incompatible with objectivism.

The reason for this should be obvious: Governent is an entity designed to force men to live lives of sacrifice for others. That's all government does. Hell, who was the evil in Atlas Shrugged? The government! Rand's error is in thinking that be shrinking the government you'd have one that just protected people's rights. But that's already been tried-- the government of this coutnry was created very small, and designed only to protect people's rights. The human faults that Rand illustrated so well in Atlas, lead inexorably to the situation we have today, and the situation she describes in the book. She points out many times that government is evil, its purpose to enslave ("We don't want the laws to be followed, no, we want everyone to be vulnerable for violating them".) etc.

Thus, the idea that the "function of government is to protect rights" is silly-- you cannot protect rights by violating them, and you cannot have govenment without violating rights.

Now, if by "government" you meant an entity that only had a relationship with people who voluntarily entered into agreement with it-- as the collective at galts gulch was-- then your position could make sense. But this is more akin to a corporation than a government. As you've agreed, taxation is a violation of human rights, and do you know of any government that exists without taxation?

Galts gulch is a fine example of anarchism-- you say no government is needed there, and you're correct. But you seem to miss the fact that no government is needed anywhere else, either.

You can't protect people from oppression by a gang of thugs by instituting your own gang of thugs to oppress them.

"Because of the fact that man possesses free will, he requires a government to protect his natural right: the right to his own life. Since every man has free will (which includes the power to be rational or irrational) a government is created in order to protect the rational from the irrational (those who respect man's fundamental right and those who don't.) "

This is nonsense. No objectivist-- no individualist of any stripe-- needs government ot protect him from the irrational. Free men protect THEMSELVES from the irrational. Furthermore, government born from an inherent conflict, is itself irrational. When was the last time you heard of a rational law being passed?

No, government is merely the occoupying army, demading it's cut of the productive members of society. By endorsing government, you violate galts pledge. They are in direct contradiction. Government is an entity that uses force to make men live for the sake of others.

You seem to be just repeating what Ayn Rand said... I don't think you've had a chance to really think about this yet...

1. Objectivism says that one man shall not be forced to live for the benefit of another.

2. Objectivism says that the initiation of force is immoral

3. All governments demand a monopoly on the use of force over their territory.

4. All government demand a monopoly on the concept of justice over their territory.

5. All governments enforce non-objective laws.

6. All governments survive by taxation.

7. Taxes are collected by initiating force.

8. Many government laws are irrational.

Thus, 4,5,8 combined violated the first principle of objectivism, 1. 3,6 and 7 also violate 1. 6 & 7 violate 2.

As to libertarians, you have given a reason for you to give them a philosophy to back up their beliefs... but that is not a reason to oppose them. Opposing them would be foolish-- espeically when compared to the fact that formal "objectivist" institutions like the ARI endorse organizatiosn that endorse the direct initiation of force, such as the republican party. Libertarians aren't good enough because you don't think their philosophy is there?

You also ignore the fact that by definition, all objectivists are libertarians-- so when you say they have no philosophical foundation ,you are mostly incorrect. Even non-objectivist libertarians accept objectivism as the philosophy that underpins libertarianism. They seem to be non-objectivists because they met too many objectivists they considered assholes. (I've certainly met enough of both groups that I consider assholes to understand why.) But I don't know any libertarians who don't acknowedge that objectivism gave them the framework, just many of them aren't interested in going into the philosophy as deep as many objectivists are.

Objectivism is not an entity. Thus you cannot say "Objectivism rejects..." Objectivism is a philosophy. People can either accept or reject things.

IF you're going to make claims about what objectivism believes, you'd better reference the actual definition of objectivism.... something you have never done in these discussions, to my frustration.

Objectivism is not a religion-- do not treat it as one. It is a philosophy that REQUIRES every individiual to come to their own conclusions.

You speculate that he has wrong ideas, and then erronously conclude that wrong ideas are thus evil, and then condemn him for it? You are not thinking for yourslef, Neorand!!! You are merely spouting off the official anti-Kelley line. Granted you acknowledge that you need to research it more, but how can you have nay opinion if you have not thought about it?? ? The answer is you are not giving me your opinion, you're giving me someone elses opinion that you have not researched enough to know if it is correct or not.

This is true about anarchism as well. I believe you honestly want to be an individualist and are capable of thinking for yourself, but you have made the error of taking some ideas that were proven to you, and possibly very enlightening, and being so excited at that, that you also adopted a whole swath of foolishness that was never proven to you.

Now, this would be an error in your mind. An error in your thinking. One of the foolish ideas that you've accepted without really thinking about is the idea that errors are evil. Of course, this means that you are evil, and I should treat you as an evil person.

Can you see how such thinking leads to no understanding, and no chance of understanding people?

The idea that Kelley should be banished because his thinking is evil is a very anti-objectivist idea.

To think that all this happened because one Objectivist spoke to non-objectivists, and thus became "evil" is very sad-- sad that there are so many self called objectivists who cannot think for themselves enough to see how pathetic a power play that is.

After all, as I pointed out, Atlas Shrugged has been read by millions of non-objectivists. Communicating with non-objectivists CANNOT be evil under objectivism, and even if it was, Ayn Rand was even more guilty of it.

Regarding the war, think of this-- another reason objectivists cannot support the war is they are expeting other people to do the fighting for them. That's expecting to live off of another. IF this war is about america defending itself, then an objectivist would have to recognize that the government of the US is NOT America, it is the occupying force. If america were to defend itself, it would be in revolution. Look at the greatest threats to this country- to all objectivists-- taxation of %50 of their productive capacity, laws that prevent them from living their lives to their own benefit, A justice system driven more by religion than reason, etc. And a completely corrupt and illegal government.

Rand was a republican and so many objectivists have fallen into line believing in the government, and republicanism, despite the fact that both are impossible to reconcile with objectivism.

You yourself concede that the war is fought with taxpayer money. Now, which is the greater threat to americans-- their enslavement by the government, or the possibility that some iraqis might kill a few at some point in the future? One's a possibility, the other is a reality.

You are living for the benefit of others. And you condemn it while endorsing the entity that requires it! Think about that.

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The one thing that I hate about correspondence such as this is that it is very difficult, at least for me, to clear up potential misconceptions and errors in what I am trying to say. First of all, when I come up with what I say in response to your posts, I am not looking up Rand's writings and merely re-hashing them. I am taking Objectivism to the best of my knowledge (which I HAVE thought about a lot on my own) and trying to point out the faults in your arguments and what I am trying to say. I also do not appreciate your accusations that I treat Objectivism as a dogmatic religion and I spew out its arguments as such. I never advocate an argument without thinking about it myself and agreeing with it. Please do not insult my intelligence. If you continue to do so, I find no reason to continue this discussion of Objectivism with you.

I hate to appeal to authority, but I will do it first and then explain my arguments on my own. Read Rand's essays, The Nature of Government, Man's Rights, etc, in The Virtue of Selfishness. It explains pretty nicely why it is in the self-interest of man to have a government. Now I will explain why on my own.

First of all, you equate the government I am speaking of to the government which we have today, which is inaccurate. Your definition of a government is flawed: "Government is an entity designed to force me to live lives of sacrifice for others. That's all government does." That is the definition of an immoral/improper government. And that is the definition of essentially every government in existence today. But that is not the moral/proper form of government according to Rand and according to Objectivism. According to Objectivism, the proper function of government is to protect the fundamental right of every one of its citizens: the right to their own life. This means, that the government is FORBIDDEN from initiating the use of force, it will protect its citizens from the initiation of force, and it will punish those who initiate the use of force. Thus, there are only three institutions of government: the military, the police force, and an objective law court system; all intended to forbid the initiation of force and to punish those who do initiate force. Those acts of governent, to go to war, to throw a man in prison, etc, are acts of self-defense in response to the initation of force imposed on others.

To this you would most likely say, that in order for a government to exist, it requires taxation and power, which can only be attained through the initiation of force. For an immoral/improper government, that is the only way for it to maintain power. However, the government that Rand advocated gets its money and power from the voluntary consent of the people. If you want to be protected by the military, the police force, and the objective law court system, you must pay for it. This is not the initiation of force, but rather a voluntary trade between two parties. But, be careful, one could say here then that man's rights only exist if a person buys them from a government. However, that is incorrect. Without getting into an entire speech about man's rights, man's rights exist independently of any government, social institution, or group. Every individual has the right to their own life by their very nature. (I could get into that more but for purposes of this dialogue I am trying to keep it as short as possible.) Therefore, this kind of government is designed to protect the individual rights of each of its citizens and to remove the initiaton of force from all human affairs. Does a man need a government in order to have rights and in order to live? No. But, it is within one's best interest to live under this form of government because it ensures the protection of one's rights.

As to what you said about the founding government of this country, it was not the kind of government which I just described. Yes, it was very small, and yes it was very similar to the government I just described. However, because of a few statist elements in the foundation of this country's government (such as slavery, the right of Congress to excise taxes and tariffs, etc) the government's power was able to rise and turn into what we have today. The founding government of this country WAS NOT laissez-faire capitalism, and therefore you can not say that laissez-faire capitalism doesn't work because America didn't work.

Thus, the point of all that is, a moral/proper government DOES NOT INITIATE THE USE OF FORCE AGAINST ANYONE. It is ridiculous to say that all governments must initiate the use of force and therefore no government is moral. The kind of government which Rand described DOES NOT INITIATE THE USE OF FORCE. Rand, nor true Objectivists, hold that human beings have any inherent faults which can not be overcome. Therefore there is no aspect of human nature which forbids him to achieve this form of government. Granted, based on current social attitudes of morality and philosophy, it would be VERY difficult to achieve this form of government. But that does not mean that it is an impossibility based on any sort of inherently flawed human nature. How is it ensured that this governent will not initiate the use of force? That is a much larger subject. But, for one thing, since the power/money of a government comes from the consent of the governed, if the governed oppose a statist element in the government they would remove their support. Secondly, this form of government would contain numerous checks and balances similar to the American system of government. This subject would require much more discussion but I think you get the point.

The following points of yours are flawed:

3. All governments demand a monopoly on the use of force over their territory.

5. All governments enforce non-objective laws.

7. Taxes are collected by initiating force.

It seems to me that you are taking all governments that are in existence today and creating a definition of government based on that, without looking at the other forms of government which are not currently in existence. All governments in existence today do those three things. But that by itself does not mean that ALL possible forms of government must do the same.

Next, as I have said many times before, your statement that all objectivists are libertarians is somewhat flawed based on what you said alone so far. Please supply an exact definition of libertarianism and objectivism please. This is my very basic definition of Objectivism, as supplied by the Ayn Rand Institute:

Metaphysics: Objective Reality

Epistemology: Reason

Ethics: Egoism

Politics: Capitalism

Aesthetics: Romantic Realism

I know what these things are, I am a double major in philosophy and political science, and I have thought about them many, many times. As I learn any philosophy, my first goal is to understand the foundations of the philosophy and judge it to be accurate or inaccurate according to its foundations. Please do not insult my intelligence by saying that I do not know what Objectivism is, that I have spent no time thinking about it, and all I am doing is re-hashing arguments made by other people. There is no other way to argue that 2+2=4 than by saying 2+2=4. In the same respects, there is no other way to argue for Objective Reality, Reason, Egoism, Capitalism, and Romantic Realism other than certain exact arguments proving them. The language of these arguments varies, the way in which they are presented varies, etc, but the basic structure of the arguments must remain the same in the same way that the basic argument of 2+2=4 must remain the same.

My arguments against anarchism, my arguments against David Kelley, and all of my other arguments, are formulated through the use of my own mind, the use of reason, and the conclusions that I reach are always based on the evidence which I have perceived. I may be wrong about certain conclusions, but in order to demonstrate that I am wrong you can must present evidence. Do not waste my time and your time by saying things like, "Objectivism is not a religion-- do not treat it as one. It is a philosophy that REQUIRES every individiual to come to their own conclusions." If I treated Objectivism like a religion, would I be supplying rational arguments according to all of the evidence available to me at present?

As to the David Kelley situation, I will supply my argument for why I believe that he is not an Objectivist, why his ideas are wrong, and why you are wrong. I am presenting this argument to the best of my ability and knowledge, and it is based on all the available evidence that I have collected. If you believe it to be wrong, I ask you to supply me with a counter-argument based on evidence, not saying that I base my arguments on Objectivism being a religion. This is a very basic argument, which could be much more extensive, but for the purposes of this discussion I will keep it basic.

1. Objectivism holds that a corollary of the axiom that existence exists and the Law of Identity (A is A) is the Law of Causality: that every effect has a cause.

2. The philosophy of Objectivism (in this case, Ayn Rand) "rejects" the notion that there is any split (dichotomy) between cause and effect

3. As a result of this, they reject any variant of the mind-body dichotomy which states that both exist in two different domains or realities and not every effect has a cause. (Many philosophies vary on the degree to which they hold the mind-body dichotomy, but all hold a form of mysticism, that there are at least two separate realities)

4. Every action in reality by a human being's free will (effect) comes about through an idea (cause).

5. Every evil action (effect) is caused by an evil idea (cause).

(I am defining evil in the context of what is within man's choice, therefore a cough could not be evil nor a tornado, etc.)

6. Since there is no split between cause and effect, the cause of every evil action is an evil idea.

Therefore, if one holds an action to be evil, one must also hold its corresponding idea to be evil.

David Kelley, however, claims that we must not hold ideas to be evil, only their actions, which means: we must not hold causes to be evil only their effects. In order to do so, one must advocate the split between cause and effect, which violates a key principle of Objectivism: the Law of Causality.

Does this mean that communication with any non-Objectivist is evil and therefore must not occur? No, of course not. Providing rational evidence for the correctness of one's ideas (as was done by Rand in all of her non-fiction work and as is done by Peikoff and ARI) is not evil no matter who reads it, who hears it, or who it is shown to. In those cases, you are attempting to demonstrate the truth based on the best of your knowledge of reality, whic h is based on evidence and proof. That in itself is never evil, no matter who you are attempting to demonstrate it to because in each of those cases you hold rational evidence to be the standard by which you attempt to properly perceive reality. So, if you are arguing with another person about what is exactly the proper perception of reality, that is never evil as long as you hold that the proper perception of reality is formulated ONLY through the use of reason. However, the following two things are evil:

1. arguing with another person and accepting that perhaps reason is not the only way to properly perceive reality

2. claiming that you respect another person's ideas despite the fact that, as it appears to you, their perception of reality is flawed.

As far as my knowledge of the views of Kelley goes, he believes that doing the first thing is evil, but not the second. According to Rand and Objectivism, justice is never attemtping to separate cause from effect. (I will forgoe going into this further for purposes of keeping this as short as possible.) This concept of justice means that one must never attempt to shield another from what they deserve based on the facts of reality. If one holds wrong ideas, one will act wrongly, and one will not only be responsible for these wrong ideas and actions, but they will pay the price (whatever that may be) for not properly perceiving reality. Human beings, in order to survive and in order to better themselves to the best possible, must properly perceive reality. Thus, if one holds wrong ideas (causes) , the concept of justice holds that that person should receive the proper results (effects). Kelley however says that we should attempt to separate cause and effect (though he propbably doesn't say this overtly) by shielding moral blame for one's ideas. Therefore, Kelley is essentially saying that reality should not be the ultimate judge of one's ideas. You can not get much more un-Objectivist than that!

Finally, you make a gross error when you say that supporting the war in any way leads to living for the benefit of others. You make the ridiculous claim (or at least seem to), that any action in which others benefit is evil! Any action in which the primary beneficiary is another is evil. Any action in which the primary beneficiary is yourself, but others benefit as a secondary consequence is NOT EVIL!

I don't know what the hell you are talking about when you claim that Rand was a Republican. If you mean Rand is the kind of Republican that exists today, then you are way off. If you mean Republican in the simplest definition: advocate of a Republic, then she is a Republican in that sense, but certainly not in the sense of where any "modern Republican" stands today. I don't know if ARI supports Republican groups, and I would need to know exactly what groups they did sponsor, if any at all, in order to make any sort of judgment on that.

As to the war, Objectivists certainly do not support the war wholeheartedly, and as you pointed out, there are many things they hold to be very wrong with it. However, they hold that at least one part of it is a step in the right direction: the assertion of the United States that we have a moral right to self-defense by acting alone, and not appeasing to murderers, dictators, and terrorists. In many ways, the Bush adminstration has not done this fully (compliance with the UN, the rest of their foreign policy, etc.), but the point is that at least they have made a step which is closer to the right direction than previous administrations such as Clinton, Bush Sr. Reagan, and especially Carter.

Finally, as I said before, please do not insult my intelligence by counter-arguing what I say by claiming that I hold Objectivism as a religion and therefore spew out its dogmatic principles. Please don't give me that bullshit, and I won't give you that bullshit in return. I have given my arguments for the conclusions that I hold concerning the matters we have discussed. If you choose to continue to deal with me in the manner that I am a dogmatic moron who does not think about anything (which is completely contrary to the evidence presented in my own arguments), then I do not wish to confer with you further.

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Guest DonGalt

Please stop appealing to authority, you do not make as many arguments as you think you do-- most of your posts are pure conclusions, without argument (and what arguments you do go into are irrelevant to the topic at hand. )

But you did concede my primary point, I just hope you can see it:

The government you describe as being moral is one that has never existed, and cannot exist in the current definition of government, but since you acknowledge the restraints it must operate under (eg: it cannot initiate force) you have just advocated anarcho-capitalism.

For if "government" did not require a monopoly on the use of force, the use of justice, and self defence, then the government in question would be just another agency that acts to defend peoples rights-- and what do you have? Anarcho-capitalism.

Since government-- as you conceded-- if it is moral does not have a monopoly, then it is just another agency, maybe a quirky one that calls itself "The government" that peopel can freely choose to enter contracts with, or not.

But if you make the error that Rand did (and by the way, her error in this does NOT set the definition of objectivism, as you repeatedly imply in your posts, in between complaining that I have pointed out that you have deified Rand and confused her opinions with objectivism) .... and assume that only one entity can have a monopoly on the use of force, then you are back at advocating an immoral government.

Rand did take this position. You have noticed that it is not consistent with objectivism. So, you're in a bit of a quandry. Either government has a monopoly on "justice" and "protecting" rights--- putting it in a position of VIOLATING man's rights by preventing him from freely entering into a contract with another for the same service on his own terms--- or government does not have a monopoly, thus becomes moral, and stops being "government" as I use the word, and you have the very definition of anarcho-capitalism as it is espoused by objectivists who recognize Rand's error.

As to the definition of Libertarianism-- libertarianism is someone who believes that the initiation of force is immoral.

You endorsed this position many times in your last posting, so you are a Libertarian. As are all objectivists.

Don't pretend like the definition of libertarian is up for debate-- I've defined it multiple times in this thread, consistently as adherence to the NAP, and you seem to sidestep the point.

Libertarians are defined by their adherence to the NAP, Objectivists must endorse the NAP, therefore, Objectivists are Libertarians, BY DEFINITION. Now, not all libertarians are objectivists, to be sure. But all objectivists MUST BE LIBERTARIANS, otherwise they cannot be objectivists.

Unfortunately, I suspect that you, and many other objectivists, advocate the initiation of force because you do not realize that what you are advocating is the initiation of force. Some of them do not think taxation is the initiation of force, for instance. You, I'm not sure about-- that's why it's a suspicion-- as you recognize that all these things governments do are immoral, but still you claim that a moral government is anarchism, but anarchism is immoral. A contradiction, to be sure.

Anarchism is merely the lack of a government--- defined as a central authority that imposes (by force!) a monopoly on the use of force (by having control of the police and the army and "justice" system) and thus your "moral government" is one that wouldn't have a monopoly on these things and thus does not fit the definition of government.... it becomes just another agency people can contract with to provide for their defense.

I'm sorry that you chose to feel insulted by my responses-- but you are giving me the party line, and you have repeatedly ignored or dodged my attempts to pin you down. Three or four times I've asked you to define exactly what it is that libertarians do that violates objectivism, and you have not done so. (Ok, well, I'm discounting the idea that anyone who's not an objectivist is evil, and thus not an objectivist, as a tautology).

And you have still failed to even address how David Kelley speakign to a group of Libertarians is sanctioning evil.

What pisses me off about you is you think you can come down on high, demand obedience, and then get petulant when I insist on you providing an argument. That's exactly the kind of cult behaviour eminating from the ARI, and if you choose to ignore me from here on out because I fail to pledge allegeince to you, then so be it. The mere demand is far more offensive than anyhting I have said.

Of course, I'm sure you don't think you have made any such demands--- but when you repeatedly insist nonsensical things are true, and refuse to back them up, appealing to authority, then the message is clear: " Rand said it, I believe it, that settles it".

It doesn't settle it with me.

Two very clear examples of this, is the statement that anarchism is incompatible with objectivism, yet, when push comes to shove, you are unable to find anything incompatable about it-- and in fact, advocate exactly it, calling it "moral".

And the other, is the insistance that libertarianism is incompatible iwth objectivism, which is just nonesense given the definitions of the two.

So, on one hand you repeatedly make these false assertions, and on the other you ignore, or fail to make the connection with the fact that the assertions have no merit.

So please, make your agument and reference Objectivism, not the feelings of Rand, Peikoff, or anyone else. If you do that, I think you'll quickly find that Rand was in error when she decried libertarians and anarcho-capitalists (or she wasn't talking about the same groups we are-- the LP hadn't been founded, IIRC, when she made her comments about them.)

I would go so far as to conclude that you also cannot be an objectivist without also being an anarcho-capitalist. They not only are compatible, objectivism requires anarcho capitalism.

These are three different movements with different roots, all reaching the same conclusions and advocating compatible societies.

The holy wars to insist that there is only one true way are pathetic, and you shouldn't engage in them-- if you feel that there is an incompatibility, then state it-- reference the definition of objectivism to find it.

That you don't, or won't, makes me assume you haven't thought it thru. As offended as you are about that assumption, the alternative-- that you have, and yet you make these contradictory statements out of evasions-- should be far more offensive, right?

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Guest DonGalt

" Kelley however says that we should attempt to separate cause and effect (though he propbably doesn't say this overtly) by shielding moral blame for one's ideas. Therefore, Kelley is essentially saying that reality should not be the ultimate judge of one's ideas. You can not get much more un-Objectivist than that! "

This is a good example of non-argument.

Kelley, you concede ("doesn't say this overtly") doesn't say what you think he does, yet you want ot attribute to him a position that YOU have fabricated for him (or worse, that someone else did and attributed to him) and then go one step further into the misrepresentation by saying "is essentially saying" which is NOT the same as "is saying".

That's dishonest.

I don't believe for a second that Kelley woudl say "Reality should not be the ultimate judge of ones ideas"

What's worse, you don't believe he would either, do you?

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Guest DonGalt

Well, on rereading my longer response I find myself repeating many times the point I'm making. I hope that by repeating it in slightly different words, it will sink in. It seems that when I pointed these things out before, I got no response... so I'm attempting to narrow the discussion down to just those two topics.

I suggest if you want to make a counter argument, that the form that will be most effective on me is to state a clear, uncontroversial, position of objectivism, such as:

Objectivism views the initiation of force to be immoral.

And then show how the position violates it:

Compulsory taxation ultimately resorts in force to insure payment. If you don't pay, you end up in jail, with your freedom deprived of you. You are kept in jail by the threat of force.

Thus, taxation is incompatible iwth objectivism.

Ok, we don't disagree on taxation, but show in a similar manner how anarchism or libertarianism are incompatible with objectivism.

If you do it in this manner, rather than just repating the assertion, you'll have more liklihood of either convincing me, or pinning down what it is we really disagree with. It may be the definition of anarchism (which is why I was careful to define libertarianism early on).

At any rate, it will force you to make the case in such a way that I can figure out exactly what it is that you disagree with.

At this point, I have no clue, I only know your conclusions.

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The proper government that I spoke of does not initiate the use of force against anyone. The only time in which this government uses force is when it is acting in self-defense against those who have initiated the use of force against its citizens. Can you give me an example where this form of government would initiate the use of force against others?

"Anarchism is merely the lack of a government--- defined as a central authority that imposes (by force!) a monopoly on the use of force..." First, the government's power to use force in self-defense is derived from the consent of the citizens of that government. Second, Objectivism advocates a central authority that uses force in self-defense and forbids (has a monopoly on) the initiation of force. Therefore, Objectivism and anarchism are incompatible.

The problem that I have with the statement "all Objectivists are libertarians by definition" is that libertarians merely advocate the NAP while disagreeing on the justification for the NAP; whereas Objectivists advocate the NAP because of exact philosophical reasons. If you are merely abstracting the advocacy of the NAP then yes all Objectivists are libertarians in that sense. My objection to that statement came from the fact that the two theories differ greatly as to exactly why the NAP should be advocated. Other than that, I don't think it's a very important point to debate further.

Do you believe that it is possible to make an error in judgment and advocate the opposite of what you intended? That is what I meant by my arguments regarding David Kelley. He may very well believe that reality should be the ultimate judge of one's ideas. What I was saying with my arguments is not necessarily he believes that reality should not be the ultimate judge of one's ideas but rather that what he advocates leads to reality not being the ultimate judge of one's ideas. I apologize for the poor writing and lack of clarity on the matter.

I will never stop talking to a person because they refuse to "pledge allegiance to" me. I am not creating these arguments in the attempt to brainwash a blind follower, and I am not attempting to memorize ARI/Objectivist arguments and re-hash them. I would be insulted if someone said to me, "God said it, I believe it, therefore it's true." I would be equally insulted if someone said to me, "Rand said it, I believe it, therefore it's true." That is not what I am trying to do. What I was saying was I do not wish to continue this disucssion if you believe that my arguments are merely formulated by dogmaticism. The entire point of my continuing this discussion is to try to learn more, and ultimately discover the truth; not to brainwash you to follow some dogmatic philosophy. I want you to analyze my arguments with reason, looking at the evidence, and judging it accordingly. However, I do not believe that your accusation that my arguments are merely memorized dogmatism are fair. I do not believe that one could accurately determine whether or not I am trying to brainwash you with dogmatcism merely from a few discussions on an internet forum. As far as the limits of this forum go, I can only assure you that I am devoted to reason and reality. If you believe that I am not, then I see no reason to continue the discussion. Doesn't that make sense?

In response to your query about why David Kelly talking to a bunch of Libertarians was sanctioning evil I can only repeat what I said already:

1. Objectivism holds that a corollary of the axiom that existence exists and the Law of Identity (A is A) is the Law of Causality: that every effect has a cause.

2. The philosophy of Objectivism (in this case, Ayn Rand) "rejects" the notion that there is any split (dichotomy) between cause and effect

3. As a result of this, they reject any variant of the mind-body dichotomy which states that both exist in two different domains or realities and not every effect has a cause. (Many philosophies vary on the degree to which they hold the mind-body dichotomy, but all hold a form of mysticism, that there are at least two separate realities)

4. Every action in reality by a human being's free will (effect) comes about through an idea (cause).

5. Every evil action (effect) is caused by an evil idea (cause).

(I am defining evil in the context of what is within man's choice, therefore a cough could not be evil nor a tornado, etc.)

6. Since there is no split between cause and effect, the cause of every evil action is an evil idea.

Therefore, if one holds an action to be evil, one must also hold its corresponding idea to be evil.

David Kelley, however, claims that we must not hold ideas to be evil, only their actions, which means: we must not hold causes to be evil only their effects. In order to do so, one must advocate the split between cause and effect, which violates a key principle of Objectivism: the Law of Causality.

Does this mean that communication with any non-Objectivist is evil and therefore must not occur? No, of course not. Providing rational evidence for the correctness of one's ideas (as was done by Rand in all of her non-fiction work and as is done by Peikoff and ARI) is not evil no matter who reads it, who hears it, or who it is shown to. In those cases, you are attempting to demonstrate the truth based on the best of your knowledge of reality, whic h is based on evidence and proof. That in itself is never evil, no matter who you are attempting to demonstrate it to because in each of those cases you hold rational evidence to be the standard by which you attempt to properly perceive reality. So, if you are arguing with another person about what is exactly the proper perception of reality, that is never evil as long as you hold that the proper perception of reality is formulated ONLY through the use of reason. However, the following two things are evil:

1. arguing with another person and accepting that perhaps reason is not the only way to properly perceive reality

2. claiming that you respect another person's ideas despite the fact that, as it appears to you, their perception of reality is flawed.

As far as my knowledge of the views of Kelley goes, he believes that doing the first thing is evil, but not the second. Doing the second separates effects (actions) from their ideas (causes). Kelley separated the evil ideas (causes) which caused evil actions (effects) by saying that one can still respect an evil idea.

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Guest DonGalt

I haven't read your whole post, so I'll just respond to the first part.

If a central authority has a monopoly on the use of force, then that central authortiy HAS initiated force.

It must initiate force to acquire and maintain that monopoly.

Preventing you and I from making an agreement we both consent to, requires an initiation of force.

Thuse, Objecctivists advocate the initiation of force (literally-- a government occupying a land by force, not at the consent of the people) when they say government must have a monopoly on the initation of force.

Also, its worth noting that there is NO ARGUMENT supported by objectivism that requires a central authority to have a monopoly on the use of force.

And on the contrary, as soon as a single citizen of the country in question removes his consent, either the government looses its monopoly, or it becomes immoral.

You have given me a contradiction, and I'm amazed that you cannot see it.

Rand's discussion of this subject was a good example of poor thinking on her part-- she presents a tautology of equating anarchism with chaos, and then saying that anything other than a government monopoly is anarchism.

I've shown an excplicit and clear contradiction in your position. I don't understand why you can't see it. And I find it frustrating that you merely repeat assertions like "objectivism requires government to have a monopoly on the use of force".

(Which is absurd on the face of it-- if objectivism required that, Rand would have been pro-gun control, and not shown her characters using guns to defend themselves in Atlas Shrugged.)

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It seems to me that you are essentially saying this:

1. Rand advocated the NAP.

2. Rand advocated a government which has a monopoly on the use of force.

3. Creating and maintaining this form of government requires the initiation of force.

Therefore, the government that Rand advocated goes against the NAP and is a contradiction.

Am I correct in saying that this is your basic argument?

If so, then there are two things that you are failing to do:

1. recognize the distinction between the initiation of force and the use of force in self-defense

2. give me an example in which a person's rights are violated when a government holds a monopoly on the initiation of force

This form of government does not force anyone outside of its control to do anything. The only time that this government deals with people outside of their control is when those people initiate the use of force. Your failure to make the distinction between the initiation of force and the use of force in self-defense is critical here. This form of government that Rand advocated has a monopoly on the initiation of force, meaning, it forbids it from use. If a government of this kind were to form and then it demanded that all people fund it, THEN that would be an initiation of force against those citizens who do not want the protection of the government. Therefore, the only use of force for this government, as prescribed by objective laws, is the use of force in self-defense when people initiate the use of force against citizens of that government. Are you saying that having a monopoly on the initiation of force is an initiation of force in itself and is therefore immoral?

If person A living outside of such a government killed person B living in such a government, would you say that it is an initiation of force on the part of the government to arrest person A? You still haven't given me an example of an act of this government which violates the natural rights of any person. Does a person have the right to initiate the use of force on someone else because they have not consented with a central authority not to do so? I believe that it is you that is advocating the contradiction sir.

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I haven't read your whole post, so I'll just respond to the first part.

NeoRand, stop arguing with this clown. He doesn't even bother to read your whole posts (which explains why he keeps insisting that you advocate things that you have specifically said that you don't, such as the initiation of force by government--and you're right that he makes no distinction between that and it's retaliatory use in self-defense)!

I feel that I should comment on the whole anarchy thing, though.

For if "government" did not require a monopoly on the use of force, the use of justice, and self defence, then the government in question would be just another agency that acts to defend peoples rights-- and what do you have? Anarcho-capitalism.

In this case, the "government in question" as "just another agency" would be the Mafia (or some equivalent). That's what your "Anarcho-capitalism" reduces to. Where there's no rule of law, your independent protection agencies have nothing to stop them from running a protection racket. When you can see that, maybe you will understand the arguments for why a goverment is (or to be more precise, could be, since no such government has yet actually existed) a moral system that secures individual rights. And that does not necessarily involve a contradiction that the government has to violate rights in order to secure them. You have not provided a valid argument to prove that conclusion.

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Guest DonGalt

Yeah, I'm trolling in my own introductory thread.

I take the refusal to respond as concession of the point. I've made my case pretty conclusively.

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Guest DonGalt

You guys are so insecure you cannot tolerate disagreement.

And that is just sad.

I can understand the inability to actually form an argument... they don't teach that in schools anymore. But intolerance is a willful rejection of objectivism!

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You're exactly right. Your arguments have been so persuasive that I have decided to join you in blind hatred of Leonard Peikoff and ARI. They are so dogmatic! I can't believe I haven't seen the light until now! The way they publish letters to the editor and give money to students is appalling! How come their crazy cult hasn't been outlawed yet? Seriously! They are constantly trying to brainwash me with lectures on induction, American history, and terrorism. And then when I wanted to apply to their Objectivist Academic Center, they made me memorize OPAR in its entirety. They made me give over my entire life savings to attend! Just like the Scientologists. Oh, wait, they didn’t. And none of your accusations against Peikoff and ARI are true. You are an ignorant rationalist. I challenge you right now to produce a shred of evidence to support your accusations. You can’t. All you will do is make more baseless assertions or lie. Either produce some evidence, or go away and don’t come back. Ever.

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I'm banning DonGalt, I hope nobody minds. Coming back and making the same kinds of posts which were both refuted and made clear not to be welcome, in dozens of threads, making baseless ad hominem attacks without providing any evidence, etc., is not the kind of behavior that this board needs or welcomes.

If someone disagrees, they can discuss it rationally, rather than throw a tantrum and repeat the same stupid assertions ad nauseum without providing a shred of proof.

Goodbye.

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