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Robert J. Kolker

A response to what Ayn Rand said about the United States

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Ayn Rand said/wrote:

I can say - not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots - that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.--Ayn Rand

Let us examine that. There is the matter of slavery which lasted from 1620 to 1865 and required a bloody Civil War to end. 620,000 Americans on both sides died and a million and a half were maimed. This in a country with a population of thirty million. Think about it.

Then there was the matter of how the aboriginal peoples were treated. Their land overrun, their women and children killed, sometimes slaughtered without mercy (look up the doings of the Seventh Cavalry under Custer).

Then there was the matter of black folk being denied their constitutional legal rights for nearly a hundred years.

Then there is the matter of the income tax. Forty percent of your income is taken by force and much of it -redistributed- to unworthy people or wasted and frittered away.

This is the only moral country in the history of the world?

Bob Kolker

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Are you in this forum because you are writing about other people who are the critics of Objectivism or because you are one yourself?

If you are one, then this would more rightly go into the debate forum.

You've stated Ayn Rand's postion and provided some concretes. Is there going to be an argument in there anywhere? Or is this a "picture is worth a thousand words" sort of argument. I guess I'm asking "What's your point?".

Also, I seem to recall the name R Kolker from time spent on a.p.o and h.p.o.m. Are you the same person?

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...

Also, I seem to recall the name R Kolker from time spent on a.p.o and h.p.o.m. Are you the same person?

There can be no other!

At least, nobody else would admit to it. ;)

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Ayn Rand said/wrote:

I can say - not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots - that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.--Ayn Rand

Let us examine that.

If I remember correctly, her belief in context was that its morality stems from the principles of individual rights upon which it was founded. Its 200 year move toward fascism is unfortunate as are the imperfections in that execution of that morality. But the simple fact that it recognized actual individual rights which to my knowledge no other country has done to this day is a truly shining achievement. I do not regard other countries constitutions which include rights to health care or food as well as life and liberty as implying a full understanding of individual liberties.

Incidentally, does anyone know of any constitutions which have acknowledged individual rights in the proper sense?

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that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.--Ayn Rand

Bold mine.

Read carefully.

This nation was founded on individual rights. What happened afterwards is another story.

I suppose one could argue that the Founding Fathers allowed slavery to exist in the Constitution...but they only did this because they knew the southern states would never ratify the Constitution otherwise. It was important at that point to be united. Most of the Founding Fathers did not morally approve of slavery. To this effect, the Constitution said that Congress could not ban the slave trade until 1808. Many states banned it before this, but Congress officially banned it in 1807 (it took effect in 1808). The proliferation of the slave population from then on was due to procreation.

Edited by Mimpy

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In my opinion, the United States has failed catastrophically to respect individual rights. While I thank the Founding Fathers for moving in the right direction, I feel very disappointed with the end result. I have a dimmer view of this country than Ayn Rand, and I think praise for America from many Objectivists stems from a desire not to be impolitic. I don't think we should settle for "far fewer atrocities than other nations!" but should instead dare to assert that a nation run by Objectivists would be far, far superior to any currently existing country.

I don't see disagreeing with Ayn Rand's appraisal of the United States as criticizing Objectivism, so I'm not sure why this thread is in this subforum.

Edited by The Passion of the Koresh

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Which "atrocities" are you talking about?

We can start with the destruction of real money and subsequent replacement with fiat money, which makes it far easier to loot on a large scale from many citizens. Every asset is preemptively stolen from its creators before they have a chance to enjoy it. The IRS and the Fed work in tandem to make sure that all you get is a vague promise of public projects that might benefit you, with the possibility of being allowed to use some--or hopefully most--of the wealth you created.

Next there's the creation of a new form of collectivism that somewhat mimics capitalism, even going so far as to call itself such, but makes it disreputable instead. A culture of lobbying and corruption has replaced one that rewards prime movers. This is the "democracy" that the US encourages others to emulate. It is a morass of protectionism, Keynesian economics applied on a global scale, and the usual squabbling over the spoils by looters. American politicians have the temerity to call this a free market.

There's also the draft. It's medieval, the idea that the lives of citizens are objects of sacrifice. This practice is not currently in use, but may return. The horrible notion that any soldier's life is an object of sacrifice persists to this day.

Let's not forget the Great Depression. (Yes, the government caused this. The stock market nosedive might have preceded it, but government actions that followed ensured that it would be one hell of a disaster.)

Those are just a few. They're not holocausts, but let's not pretend everything's peachy.

Edited by The Passion of the Koresh

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Those are just a few. They're not holocausts, but let's not pretend everything's peachy.

I would not disagree that things are far from peachy. But I doubt Ayn Rand would either since she railed against many of these same issues. As pointed out above, that quote referred to the founding principles of the country. Not the country in whole or even generally.

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