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Wolf DeVoon

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  1. Okay, fair enough. The point about anarchy is that there is much in life which is beyond the purview and practical control of government. I have made the comment repeatedly that we live in defacto anarchy, because government (in the current state) is so profoundly inept and dysfunctional. The invasion of Iraq was justified with outrageous lies to cover Halliburton's covetousness, for example. Objectivism is and always was primarily a speculative philosophy. Rand's interpretation of Aristotle is a valuable integration. But surely folks rightly think of her as a novelist, a dramatist. There are sharp limits and some errors that froze Rand's achievement. This is why irksome critics (which I am neither) often wail that Objectivism is a cult. I never gave those claims any credence or support. I have proudly written of Miss Rand's achievements perhaps a hundred times and feel no embarrassment when I reference her works. The bit about constitutionalism is not so transparent as you seem to suggest. We got a glimpse of Judge Narragansett rewriting a failed document by inserting a prohibition. This is not a solution, and it is beyond the scope of this discussion to explain why. What needs to be emphasized rather is that first principles matter, regardless of subject and particularly in the case of legal reasoning. In any case, I appreciate the awkwardness of introductions. No doubt Chris Sciabarra would have had an equally difficult passage attempting to explain his theory of "dialectical Objectivism" and Ayn Rand's alleged debt to Hegel (which I have ruthlessly reamed him for on numerous occasions). I'm undecided what to do next, having been stuffed with straw and declared unfit for present company. Wolf DeVoon bestof.html
  2. Hi guys. The weblog at my domain showed so many referrals, that I came back to see what was up, and discovered that questions were asked in good faith, above. RadCap is unfortunately wrong ("Ms. Rand recognized that the Philosophy of Law is... derived from the premises she established with her Ethics"). The canon and parol evidence of Rand's thought suggests rather than she had no firm idea of how to frame legal principles, which is rather what you'd expect an honest layperson to say. It's true that she thought ethics should control politics, and certainly she took a stab at it. It's important to review the late Ron Merrill's criticism. In any case, the philosophy of law stands independent from politics and ethics of necessity. You can't get from "capitalism" to the jury system, nor from "just government" to adversarial due process. The key to understanding the passage quoted at the top of this thread is the notion of legal representation, i.e., the relationship of master and servant and the special cases of fiduciary and legal agency. It is often helpful to conceive the law as being concerned primarily with the putative and postulated right of every person (man, woman, child, partnership, association, corporation, state) to be heard by an impartial tribunal, and conversely that it is forbidden to take the law into your own hands (like Francisco or Dagny or Roark or Karen or Kira). Many of us, of course, ignore law as such, especially the edicts of Mr Thompson and his bootlickers in Congress. It's rather difficult for the Iraqis to ignore the 3rd Infantry Division, or an airline to ignore the Homereich Security Uberfuhrer -- but much of life is beyond the reach of government. Families adjudicate disputes between young siblings, for instance. The government cannot compel one to fall in love or out of it. The cheap way to get acquainted with my work is to visit Berkeley's WayBack Machine (http://www.archive.org) and dial up LFC Times (http://www.zolatimes.com) where you'll find some 50 articles and stories listed in the Writers Index under my name. If I can be of further help, please give me a shout at my email [email protected] defects.html
  3. You guys have some odd habits, that's for sure. I thunk about it, decided yep, this was a forum for students and therefore self-absconded. What did you do? Proceded to analyze an absentee. Shame on you. I never declared myself to be a gadfly. That was WebSurfer Digest's comment, and I believe it was meant as a compliment. Indirectly, I suppose I've been complimented by the 100 hits to my personal page that originated guess where? Here. Miss Rand made mistakes. Her fiction was her apogee, long before The Collective milked her fame at NBI and related enterprises. Rand did no work, zero, on the philosophy of law. That's where my work commenced 25 years ago. It's fine if the tenor of this joint is to sneer. Sophomores sneer. I know, I was one, about 30 years ago. But it niggles that this thread was indexed by Google and had so little of me. So, I'm back. If there are no further questions, no further sneers, that's swell and we can wish each other good premises. Wolf DeVoon
  4. Yes, later in life Rand argued for government as a necessary and natural arbiter among otherwise free men. I'm familiar with her work. None of her fiction indicated sympathy with government as such. But really, it's silly to make sweeping judgments ("highly irrational and moronic") when you know so little about me or defacto anarchy in private life, which exists in profusion and highlights the vitality of moral values. A forum for students? Yes, I see your point. I'll think about it. W.
  5. Okay. Let's discuss basic premises, one at a time. Miss Rand did no work, zero, on the philosophy of law. Correct? W.
  6. Don't be silly. Rational people discuss ideas. Idiots accept whatever they're given, don't have much choice about it. I appreciate your view, but it's pure ad hom, and not at all the way Miss Rand handled things. Shooing away an established author is not so easy. W.
  7. CONDENSED TO A FEW TALKING POINTS ------------------------------------------------------- Unless we start with a single proposition to explain all 'rights' as such, assorted provisions that seem desirable will flood over one another with conflicting application to their collective extinguishment. Does the rule of law require a state? ...or a social contract? The rule of law has nothing to do with a sovereign state, except in the narrow sense that such states exist and when they comply with the rule of law they are viewed as 'legal persons' (litigants) possessed of competent legal standing to sue or be sued with the presumption of innocence, no greater or lesser in legal character than a single infant child. States are checked by asserting your personal right to freedom and justice -- i.e., constitutional legal rights that no state may lawfully abridge. Perhaps it's a distinctly American notion. "In a laissez faire community of any kind, physical or digital, the rule of law arises from and requires all of the following: a constitutional right to practice legal representation on behalf of others; the right of practicing lawyers to associate for the purpose of selecting judges who, on appointment to the bench, are barred from private legal practice; and the right of any person or organized group to obey and execute lawful orders that may be issued from time to time by the courts so created. The jursidiction of laissez faire constitutional law and the courts which duly interpret and uphold such principles exists globally and perpetually as a matter of right. Laissez faire constitutional law flows from a single proposition, which is that no one may legally judge his own cause of action or act to penalize another without fair public trial and impartial due process of law. Laissez faire law is discovered and demonstrated in the process of litigation and trial. It cannot be legislated, codified, or imposed by a lawgiver." Freeman's Constitution
  8. Well, yes, I guess so. Objectivist scholars Sciabarra (NYU), Machan (Claremont), Narveson (Canada), Hessen (Stanford) and many others were fed, watered, and published -- most of which went unread, except Sciabarra's unreadable junk that asserted Ayn Rand was a confused Hegelian. Personally, I always liked the late Ron Merrill best, and he wrote from outside the academic sinecure. I also question $145K per year. Pretty steep. W.
  9. Might as well talk about something important, right? --------------- Like the Vietnamese, Iraqis not ready to surrender hearts and minds to U.S. By Stephen Hume 07/17/03: (Vancouver Sun) The most poignant evidence of the bungling that characterizes America's Iraq misadventure was filed by a Los Angeles Times reporter a few days ago. It told of a U.S. army convoy loaded with frozen chickens. The poultry was thawing in the fierce desert heat as trucks drove about trying to give them away to hungry families in Fallujah. Instead of gratitude, the convoy encountered hails of stones hurled by children. "We would rather eat rocks than eat chickens from Americans," one Iraqi said. "Hey, it's a slow process, winning the hearts and minds of the people," explained the convoy's up-beat commander. He can say that again. Let's see, to give away 2,000 chickens to starving people, he needs an escort of 16 armored vehicles, machine guns and combat troops. Is there something here that suggests self-delusion in Washington? Yes, there is. After all, Fallujah is where, on March 29, a U.S. pilot shredded a street full of children at play with a "daisy-cutter" bomb. Ten died, 12 were gruesomely injured. The resentment of American generosity festering in Fallujah is instantly comprehensible after reading British correspondent Ed Vulliamy. He visited some of the bereaved and wrote about it with brutal clarity for The Observer on July 6. "What remains of a beautiful girl called Bedour Hashem lies on a piece of floor at a relative's house, having been discharged by the American military hospital, with no room for her at the local one," Vulliamy wrote. "She is shrivelled and petrified like a dead cat. Her skin is like scorched parchment folded over her bones. Unable to move, she appears as if in some troubled coma, but opens her eyes, with difficulty, to issue an indecipherable cry like a wounded animal." Then soldiers in American uniforms show up and try to make amends with a chicken. Some of us are old enough to recall the last time rhetoric about "hearts and minds" was trotted out in ironic contrast to images like this. Remember the naked child fleeing the napalm blast down a road in Vietnam and the White House's inability to comprehend why so many peasants found Communism preferable to the army's attempts to win their sympathy and support? That was 30 years ago and the eventual price of the foolish assumptions it represented was more than 50,000 American and at least 1.3 million Vietnamese dead -- and the "hearts and minds of the people" never did come around. Instead, the U.S. lost the hearts and minds of a generation of its own young people -- both in uniform and out. Nobody thinks Iraq will become another Vietnam but the resonance is inescapable. Iraq may yet become the political quagmire for President George W. Bush that Vietnam proved for Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. When I read of a young American soldier talking about his fear at the threat of ambush everywhere and his frustration when he couldn't distinguish the enemy from the civilians -- gosh, even the little kids can turn out to be snipers -- my heart sank and I thought of the My Lai massacre. Correspondents report that officers admit morale in American units stationed in Iraq is at rock bottom while U.S. General Tommy Franks says U.S. troops might have to stay for four years, maybe more. To be sure, Paul Bremer, the American civilian in charge, said Tuesday that British and U.S. troops would be withdrawn as soon as a new constitution and a democratic government were in place, perhaps as soon as next spring. But even as he was waxing optimistic, the Voice of America was quoting military officials to the effect that thousands of U.S. troops who were expecting to go home have now been told they will stay in Iraq indefinitely because of the continuing low level conflict. Apparently, more than a dozen armed encounters occur every day on average. One can't blame the soldiers. They follow orders. They always suffer for the callous stupidity of politicians who start believing the propaganda they spin to support their ideological agendas. That's clearly what happened in the run up to the Second Iraq War, cheered on by tough-talking Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and his even more hawkish adviser Paul Wolfowitz. In hindsight, it's increasingly clear that despite the protestations of Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, intelligence that should be evaluated objectively and acted upon wisely was shamelessly manipulated to provide a spurious case for an ideologically motivated war. More and more, the invasion to remake Iraq looks like a half-baked idea cooked up by undergraduate political science students convinced that their seminar is a mandate to remake the world in the image of their theories. It was so simple. Saddam Hussein was to be surgically removed by a relatively small number of superior soldiers backed by advanced technology. The liberators would be greeted by joyous multitudes, intoxicated by democracy. Instead we've got Saddam organizing an underground resistance in the country where modern guerrilla war was invented, 11-year-old snipers, civil infrastructure in chaos in a country that may never embrace a U.S.-imposed government and casualty lists mounting. And it turns out there never was a Plan B for dealing with these eventualities. Expect the go-it-alone boys to soon be calling for an international "peacekeeping" force. But don't expect too many takers since going into Iraq won't mean keeping the peace, it will mean serving as the proxy occupying power. I note that India, asked to provide 17,000 troops, has suddenly developed cold feet. Soon the zealots who a few months ago were dismissing the United Nations as irrelevant will be huffing about its responsibility to send peacekeepers to Iraq. Yet the U.S. is still a democracy. With 145,000 troops -- a significant share of the U.S. army's operational strength -- tied up in Iraq and the makings of an ulcerous low-level guerrilla conflict shaping up in the background, the questions directed at Bush and his arrogantly self-assured apparatchiks by other Americans will become harder and harder to evade. The deceitful rationale for a war that will cost an estimated $100 billion by the end of 2004 and now propels the U.S. toward its largest deficit in history has already begun to unravel. CIA director George Tenet fell on his sword last week, taking the blame for not adequately telling the White House that information Bush would cite in his State of the Union address about Iraq trying to by uranium in Africa was false. But others claim White House officials had been informed. The pressure to discover who knew what and when they knew it won't abate any time soon. Don't be surprised to see other scapegoats start walking the plank. If the president's swaggering deputies did indeed abuse intelligence reports to make a more compelling case for war against Saddam than the facts warranted, some will have to go. And if the American people conclude that the White House hyped the necessity for something so grave as killing school children like those in Fallujah, George W. Bush will wind up a one-term president, just like his dad. [email protected] © Copyright 2003 Vancouver Sun
  10. I'm an anarcho-Objectivist-constitutionalist, which means: Miss Rand made mistakes. Shocking, huh? http://www.organic-law.com/wolf.html
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