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Objectivism Online Forum


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  1. I would say generally that libertarianism is a valid political philosophy, but it is subject to a great deal of confusion (as illustrated by the previously mentioned "market socialists") due to it being an open philosophy. I also want to stress that when I previously said that libertarianism was "philosophically inadequate", a statement responded to by 2046 who compared it to vegetarianism, I meant that it would be philosophically inadequate for an individual to be a libertarian but reach that conclusion without any basis in other philosophies. Since libertarianism is only a political philosophy, an individual who was a libertarian but held no explicit philosophy in metaphysics, epistemology or ethics would certainly be trying to uphold a philosophically untenable position - libertarianism is justified through the aforementioned other three branches of philosophy, it cannot stand in a vacuum. Certainly, you could agree that if one was a vegetarian and held no explicit philosophy to support this, it would be rationally untenable. To justify vegetarianism as a philosophy, one would have to present an argument that went something like this: "Because animals are conscious beings with souls (metaphysical statement), it is immoral to subordinate animals to human interests (ethics and metaphysics - animals are equivalent to humans, therefore the NAP applies to them)." [This is of course excepting those individuals who do not eat meat because they cannot digest it or do not like its taste, or perhaps because they feel it is detrimental to their health. In those cases, they are not holding vegetarianism as a philosophy necessarily, they are acting in their own rational self-interest by not eating meat. Sorry for the tangent, I just felt the need to define the limits of the vegetarianism analogy.] Objectivism could be argued to hold a libertarian view in politics, if one considered "libertarian" to refer to "support of the non-aggression principle". Of course, Ayn Rand would never have said this due to her dislike of those who called themselves libertarians, but, unless anyone can point out where I am mistaken, American libertarian philosophy is identical to capitalism as a form of government as Ms. Rand described it. But, it is important to note, Objectivism and libertarianism are not synonyms. Objectivism is a closed philosophy with defined principles in all major branches of philosophy, while libertarianism is an open philosophy with principles only in the branch of politics. [As a brief response to another point made by 2046, this one being somewhat tangential, I would contend that so long as one agreed with and understood entirely all of Objectivism's basic principles in the various fields of philosophy, they could rationally call themselves "Objectivist." However, if the person wished to be honest, they would make it clear when they used these principles to arrive at specific conclusions not made by Rand and especially conclusions contradictory to those made by her (see: homosexuality, woman president). Additionally, an honest student of the philosophy who is not an expert in it engaged in a debate with an outsider would make it clear to the outsider that they are not an expert and that they do not speak for Ayn Rand. I feel that these measures are important to ensure the integrity of Objectivism as Ayn Rand's philosophy and to avoid dilution of people who agree with some of the principles and decide to use the term "Objectivist" to refer to their related but different philosophy (see: closed system), and of people who misrepresent Objectivism through no intended dishonesty, merely their own inexperience (see: young students of Objectivism who finish Atlas and believe they understand the whole philosophy while in reality holding a number of mistaken premises and who wind up turning people off of Objectivism through misrepresentation).]
  2. I registered here a few months ago, but I never got around to posting because I felt like a lot of the discussions on this forum are somewhat above my intellectual ability at that point. I still am not sure exactly how competent I am in philosophy, and I have a lot of reading to do, but I saw a post I felt I could respond to today, and now that I've made a post, I thought I should come back here and make a more formal introduction. I am currently 16 years old and am a high school junior, unfortunately in the International Baccalaureate program (an organization hopelessly devoted to moral and cultural relativism, I learned the other day in "Theory of Knowledge and Mathematics" that if people using a "different math" said that 2 + 2 = 5, they aren't necessarily wrong). I can't really remember a time when I wasn't thinking about philosophy, at least in a very rudimentary sense. Though I never really believed in a god, in middle school I became essentially Buddhist, but in a very altruist-collectivist way (i.e., metaphysics involving a "universal force", ethics of altruism as consistently as possible, far left-wing politics). Fortunately, as a person who somehow held into a fairly rational epistemology (maybe due to having been educated in a Montessori school through 8th grade), I eventually saw the insanity of this (interestingly, one factor might have been becoming interested in girls and seeing romantic relationships as being incompatible with altruism. I was an oddly consistent altruist, which is why, of course, I stopped being one). Recalling a book I had enjoyed reading in 8th grade called Anthem, I picked up Atlas Shrugged halfway through 9th grade and have been studying Objectivism ever since. I have read Virtue of Selfishness, The Anti-Industrial Revolution and parts of The Romantic Manifesto. I am currently working on Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Though this may not seem like a lot for 2 years' time, school is very time consuming and I have been learning a lot through reading objectivist forums, mostly this one. I feel like I have a fairly good grasp on the philosophy, though perhaps not some of the more technical aspects of epistemology. I've also recently been improving my social skills, which could formerly be described only as atrocious.
  3. But is it not also true that Objectivism is a closed philosophy with set principles, whereas libertarianism is a blatantly open philosophy with no established principles (I am not convinced that all those who call themselves libertarians even believe in the non-aggression principle, merely in "limited government")? Objectivism and libertarianism cannot accurately be paralleled in this respect. Sure, there are people who claim to be Objectivists who hold views inconsistent with Objectivism, but that makes these people dishonest (since Objectivism is a closed philosophy; that of Ayn Rand). But there is no set system of basic principles behind libertarianism, which is about as open as a philosophy can get (in fact, if you told someone in Europe that you are a libertarian, they would assume that you are a socialist who believes in "personal freedom" but not "economic freedom". I've debated socialists who claimed to be "socially libertarian" but "economically socialist"). Libertarianism is philosophically inadequate because it is a political philosophy with little to say ethics and nothing to say about metaphysics and epistemology. I have nothing against cooperation with libertarians to achieve common political goals; I contributed to the campaigns of both Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in 2012. But libertarian activism without another philosophy as a basis in the areas where libertarianism is lacking is a philosophically inadequate position. This isn't "emotional sectarianism"; I haven't had enough time in the Objectivist community to become emotional about a sect. But interaction with libertarians on libertarian activist websites (DailyPaul, for example) tells me that the views of these people vary wildly and that many of them do in fact hold inadequate philosophical views. I'm also not parroting Rand's jealousies; I held her characterization of libertarians as a view that I opposed for a long time, and I still think her words against them were too harsh. This is my honest evaluation based on knowledge of libertarian philosophy and interactions with libertarians. (Side note: Yes, this is my first post. I registered a while ago but hadn't posted yet because I feel like many of the conversations here are over my head intellectually. This is a response I knew I could make, so I elected to do so.)
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