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Everything posted by Tejia

  1. Proper is a subjective word. What is the difference between proper survival and improper survival?
  2. @DavidOdden: Who decides whether a law is or is not objective? If two individuals have differing conclusions regarding a law, how is it decided which conclusion is correct - or if neither conclusion is correct? In order for a judge to apply an objective law, someone has to identify this objective law. If rational individuals are capable of disagreement, then who decides which conclusion shall be designated the objective conclusion - and then enforced?
  3. @Jake Ellison: Why do you assume they would be partial to one side? Scenario A: Individuals are hired to prevent initiations of force. If these individuals fail to prevent initiations of force, they owe insurance payouts to victims. Incentive: Fewer initations of force = fewer insurance payouts = more profit. Expected result of competition: individuals which most efficiently prevent initiations of force receive more subsribers, make fewer payment, receive most profit. Expected result of lack of competition: payouts can be made so insubstantial that little effort is required to be put into preventing initiations of force. If people want protection, they pay the monopoly. Inefficiency has no negative consequence to those being inefficient. Scenario B: Individuals are hired to retaliate against initiations of force. Right to retaliatory force is individual right. If individual commits initiation of force against other individual(s), initiator has forfeited rights, may be retaliated against by anyone. Problem: If retaliatory force cannot be proven to be such, retaliatory force will be seen as initiation of force. Solution: In order to avoid being improperly viewed as a criminal, and to safeguard against the possibility of becoming an inaccurate target of retaliatory force, due process is follwed. Definition of due process is dependent on prevailing attitudes of what is required to prove guilt. Problem: ensuring that due process is being followed is time consuming and requires specialized knowledge. Solution: Delegation of retaliation to a specialist. Expected result of competition: individuals which are most efficient in utilizing retaliatory force whilst following due process gain more customers, maximize profit. Expected result of lack of competition: impetus towards efficiency is absent. Also: impetus to avoid becoming target of retaliatory force is absent. Due process need not be followed. Reprisal is disallowed, as it would constitute competition. Scenario C: Individuals are hired to arbitrate disputes. If individuals are partial, individuals will only be hired by one side of conflict. If individuals are impartial, possibility exists of being hired by both sides of conflict. Reason: It is less time-consuming to for those involved in a dispute to have a shared mediator. Expected result of competition: Individuals whare are more impartial will more often be called upon by both sides of dispute. Arbitrating both sides of a dispute =2x pay = more profit. Imparitality = more profit. Expected result of lack of competition: There is no impetus to be impartial. Arbitration of both sides, and the 2x pay, has already been achieved by eliminating competition. Absence of competition does not equal impartiality. Individuals are selfish by nature; any action taken is so taken due to a perceived positive or negative benefit ('positive benefit' being a gain and 'negative benefit' being an avoided loss). Choice is not between self / not-self; choice is between benefitting self at own expense / benefitting self at others' expense. Impetus to be efficient in competitive environment arises from potential for increased efficiency to translate into increased income. Increased income results in increase in ability to buy self benefit or decrease in time required to be spent maintaining survival, leaving more time available to spent pursuing self-benefits. If individuals in government are not in a competitive environment, what is their impetus to be efficient? Why are judges / lawmakers / members of SCOTUS or other high courts capable of correctly applying objective law / applying objective justice / interpreting objective law whereas members of competing private agencies are not? I agree. However, a rational individual will know that only one of the conflicting conclusions can be correct. A rational individual would be aware of his potential for error, and, when given evidence that he is operating on contradiction, will refrain from acting on his conclusions until the contradiction has been resolved. To act despite being aware of a contradiction in one's reasoning or conclusions wuold be irrational. If expediency is an issue, then a rational individual may choose to subject the matter to another individual whose decision he believes will be accurate. It is not essential that he do so. It is a time saver. Then, as I stated earlier, it is not a judge which is called for. A judge will be unable to arbitrate for an irrational man, whether he has a gun or not. @mrocktor: If freedom is what exists when an individual is not threatened by the use of force against his person and property, then freedom - as you have defined it - is not a right, as it requires the products of the work of others. Who is to provide them? To say that a choice to fund government is voluntary only if no one is threatening you with force seems illogical to me. Premise: No government exists. Scenario A: You are being threatened with force. You wish to create a government to protect you from this threat. However, compulsory taxation is immoral, and voluntary taxation is impossible because you are being threatened with force. Scenario B: You are not being threatened. Why do you wish to create a government to protect you from a nonexistent threat? I apologize if I was unclear. My questions were intended to discover how an Objectivist government would maintain a monopoly on retributive force with voluntary funding. If funding is voluntary, but I am prevented from funding a competing agency, then funding is not voluntary. If I wish to be safe from initiations of force, but am only allowed to protect myself by relying on a specific group of individuals, then I Must pay this group of individuals if I wish to be safe from initiations of force - because if this group of individuals has insufficient funds, they will be unable to protect me; and if I am not allowed to protect myself or pay different individuals to protect me, then an inability of the group with the monopoly on retributive force to protect me would result in no protection. 1. I agree. However, I was not asking why challenging the government is disallowed, I was asking why competing with the government is disallowed. I apologize if this was unclear. 2. Except that the government claims a monopoly on retaliatory force. Even if competing groups of individuals were all strictly defending individual rights, they would still be infringing on each others' claim to a monopoly on retaliatory force. If this would be a de facto government, then the same principle could be applied at an individual level - any individual strictly defending individual rights would be a member of a de facto government. @DavidOdden: I at no point claimed that societies or governments were not existents - I claimed that they did not exist as entities. I was very careful in this regard. Please explain how a society, whilst not being an entity, can rob, enslave, limit, compel, set up a conflict, destroy, be a deadly threat, or provide. These are all actions of individuals. If a society is a group of individuals, then the only actions a society can undertake are growth and shrinkage. I misphrased my question, then. I apologize. Correctly phrased, the question is: Why is it morally proper for an individual who is a member of government to regulate or administer the use of retaliatory force, while it is not morally proper for an individual who is not a member of government to regulate or administer the use of retaliatory force? ~~ Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to respond; it is appreciated.
  4. I neglected to reference one of my quotes, and the option to edit has disappeared. The quote missing a reference was taken from Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness, The Nature of Government, paragraph 13.
  5. I agree. However, if the reason that there is no such entity as society is that society is only a number of individual men, then why would it be invalid to say that there is no such entity as "government," since government is only a number of individual men? If there is no such entity as society, then a society cannot rob. It cannot destroy all the values of human coexistence. A society cannot simultaneously not exist as an entity and possess qualities that only entities can possess, or perform actions that only entities can perform. A society cannot be peaceful, productive, or rational. A society cannot be moral or civilized. There is no such entity as society. I agree (with the disclaimer that a society, as mentioned, cannot be civlized). However, I was led to believe that Objectivism holds self-defence and retaliatory force to be seperate from each other; whereas the literature you asked me to read uses them interchangeably. If force may be used only in retaliation, then self defense is either retaliation or may not be used. If retaliatory force is a government monopoly, then self defense, being retaliatory force, is infringing on this monopoly. Again, if a society as an entity does not exist, then it cannot provide and it cannot compel. Also, the absence of organized protection would not necessarily lead to the situation described. The absence of rationality would. If a necessary consequence of man's right to life is his right to self defense, and a group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members, then how can the government have the right retaliatory force, while individual citizens cannot? My questions were, The literature you directed me to for answers to these questions did not provide answers. I may administer retaliatory force, as this is right is a necessary consequence of my right to life. I may not administer retaliatory force, because the use of retaliatory force may not be left up to individual citizens. Individuals in government do not have different rights than I do, because rights stem from the individual. Individuals in government do have different rights than I do, because they may administer retaliatory force and I may not. If you have answers to my questions, I would love to hear them. Telling me that I am getting way ahead of myself and that the best thing to do is go read a book, however, is an insult - especially when the book recommended has contradictory information regarding the answer to my questions.
  6. Why would an individual within a private agency be less impartial than an individual within a government agency? An objective law cannot mean a law which 'applies without bias', because a subjective law can still be applied without bias. For example, if there is a law that states that anyone who is taller than the king shall be put to death, this law would be highly subjective. However, a judge could apply this law without bias, by measuring the king and then measuring individuals accused of being taller than the king. I was using objective to mean something that is based in reality, as opposed to subjective, something based in opinion. For example, a law stating that, "because property rights are an observable phenomenon, and because theft is a hypocritical action wherein one attempts to first deny property rights and then assert them, theft is prohibited" would be more objective than a law stating that, "because Joe took my wallet and this upset me, theft is prohibited." An impartial, rational third party as judge in a conflict is not essential. If I claim that the force of gravity on earth is five meters per second squared, and someone else claims that the force of gravity on earth is nine point eight one meters per second squared, then we do not need an impartial, rational third party - we simply need an impartial third party, reality. We have simply to take some rocks, drop them from various locations, and time them. Reality will swiftly prove me wrong, and my opponent right. Likewise, the impartial third party could be logic. If I claim that it is okay for me to steal from you, and you point out that the only reason I wish to steal is because I wish to keep the stolen property, thus affirming property rights, but that I am hypocritically denying you those same property rights, then logic will have proven me wrong and you correct. If I am a rational individual, then I will see that my belief that it is okay for me to steal is contradicted by my desire to keep what I have stolen. If I am *not* rational, then I fail to see how an impartial, rational third party is going to make any difference. If I am irrational, then it is not a judge which is called for - it is self defence, or, if I steal your wallet and take off, retaliatory force in order to regain your wallet. An impartial, rational third party as judge in a conflict is convenient; it is not essential. If I know that Joe trusts Susan's ability to think clearly, and I know I trust Susan's ability to think clearly, and I believe that Susan has integrity such that she will not be swayed by anything other than facts, then it may be more expedient for myself and Joe to ask Susan to arbitrate our dispute, rather than spend the time necessary to come to a complete agreement. The problem is that if both myself and Joe are willing to accept Susan's judgement, no matter who she supports, then we have just demonstrated that we could have worked it out ourselves - because we have both granted the possibility that we could be wrong. It is not that we need Susan's arbitration, it is that we feel subjecting ourselves to Susan's arbitration will save us time, as we believe she will make the correct decision.
  7. May I regulate or administer the use of retaliatory force? It appears that you are saying that I may not. If this is correct - why not? More importantly, if I cannot, why is it that individuals within a government can? Why is it that those in government have different rights than those not in government (that is, the right to regulate or administer retaliatory force)? Why cannot private companies have a set of objective laws? I recognize that they do not - but neither does any government. If a government is capable of having a set of objective laws, and capable of adhering to them, why is it that private companies are incapable of having a set of objective laws, or incapable of adhering to them? Also - how does one ensure that a government does not exceed its boundaries with a document? How will the document prevent the government from expanding? If a government is defined as being that organization which possesses a monopoly on retaliatory force within a given region, then what happens if this government, ten, twenty, thirty years down the road, redefines what does or does not constitute retaliatory force? If the government ceases to retaliate in response to a specific violation, but possesses a monopoly on retaliation, then this violation will no longer be retaliated against, and the right in question will no longer be being protected. If the government begins to retaliate in response to a non-violation as if it were a violation, but possesses a monopoly on retaliation, than those who are having their rights violated by this government will be unable to retaliate against the government. If it is argued that, if either of these situations occurred, that the government in question would no longer be legitimate, and that the people in this society could cast aside this government in favor of a government that followed a set of objective laws, then how is it accurate to say that the government is protecting the rational from the irrational? It is the rational individuals' understanding of what constitutes objective justice that is protecting them from the irrational, whether it be in the form of an individual or a government. If a government depends on the majority of its citizens being rational in order that the government restrict itself to its prescribed legitimate activities of retaliatory force, then this means that the majority of the citizens are aware of what does and does not merit retaliatory force, and that the majority of citizens are aware of what does and does not constitute a rational approach to regulating retaliatory force. If this is not the case - if the majority of citizens are unaware of these things - then there is no safeguard against government expansion, as people would be unaware that the government was expanding into an area that it should not be involved in. If the majority of citizens are aware of the aforementioned things, however, then why is the government necessary to regulate retaliatory force? If rationality is prevalent enought that citizens can prevent a government from overstepping its bounds, then why is it that these same citizens cannot be allowed to regulate retaliatory force themselves, or designate competing agencies to regulate retaliatory force in their stead? Why would these competing agencies not be held to the same standard as governments - that is, why is it that a government can be kept in check, but competing private agencies cannot?
  8. Thank you for all of the feedback! @Mr. Wynand: We are mostly in agreement. There is one statement of yours that I feel I must respectfully disagree with, however, and that is that "voluntary taxation is the last step in creating a free nation." My understanding of the coercive nature of taxation, and the historic pattern of governments that use it, leads me to conclude that the elimination of compulsory taxation (or simply 'taxation', as a voluntary tax is not truly a tax, but a payment / donation) would be the first step in creating a free nation. If you (or anyone else) would like to debate this with me, I would be more than happy to do so, and fully admit I may be wrong - I would ask that a new thread be opened for that discussion, however. @mrocktor: Thank you for the detailed feedback - you clarified a few issues for me. I agree that voluntary taxation is not actually taxation. It am confused as to why an Objectivist government would incorporate voluntary payment for services while simultaneously covering people regardless of whether or not they paid for these services. You stated that, "if you must pay to have your rights secured (i.e. to be free from the threat of force) this is actually a form of extortion." I would counter that this would depend on the source of the force that you were paying to be protected from. If the individual or organization which you are paying for protection is the source of the force that is threatening you - or is in some way associated with the force that is threatening you - then I would agree that this would be a protection racket, and would be entirely immoral. However, if the source of this force is not associated with the proposed protector(s), how is this a protection racket? "Second, in protecting your rights the government is in fact securing the rights of the people who do actually fund it. Letting criminals get away with and benefit from crime is a threat to all peaceful citizens - not only to the immediate victim. So even though you (in this example) are not rational enough to realize funding this government is a good deal for you, it will still protect your rights - in the interest of the more rational people around you." This makes a great deal of sense to me - especially the part regarding protecting those who are funding the government by opposing all criminals. However, I disagree with your assumption that, if someone chose not to fund this government, the only explanation for this behavior would be that this person is not rational. If I do not have to fund the government, and do not wish the services offered by the government, then not funding the government is not irrational. For example - if every dealing Joe has had with people has been reasonable and rational, and any dispute has been easily settled by bringing the matter to mutual friends; if Joe does not know of any criminal element in his neighborhood, and the one time he encountered a mugger, he drew his gun and prevented the mugging; and if Joe feels no threat from outside nations, because his analysis of the political situation has led him to conclude that other nations find trading with his nation far more profitable than an invasion, and that other nations are intimidated at the thought of invading a nation wherein anyone might own any weapon. Would it be rational for Joe to pay for government services? Put another way: if I own a building downtown, and notice that there is increasing gang activity, I might hire a private security agency to ensure that no damage occurred to my property. As I value my property, and see a high likelihood of it being damaged if I do not take steps to prevent it, this would (to me) be considered rational. However, if, three years later, I re-evaluated the situation, and realized that there was no longer any gang activity occurring, then I would likely stop buying the services of the security company. As I no longer see any need for protection, this would also (to me) be considered rational. I think my real confusion in all this relates to the Objectivist position on retaliatory force. You stated near the beginning of your post that "while Objectivism is grounded on reason and the facts of reality, anarchism (and most "Libertarianism") is based on a "non-aggression principle" which is just assumed." Objectivism is a well-defined philosophy; it is a line of thought beginning with metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, all of which lead to definitive answers in regards to politics. The category of Objectivists includes only those individuals who are in agreement with the Objectivist line of thought. Anarchism and libertarianism are not well-defined philosophies in this sense; they are very loose categorizations. The category of anarchists includes only those individuals who are in agreement with the anarchist line of thought, and the same goes for libertarians; however, this line of thought consists of "I believe there should be no government" for anarchists and "I believe in freedom" for libertarians. What I mean by this is that, if someone proclaims themself an Objectivist - and they are honest - then you already know a great deal about this person. You know that their positions in regards to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and politics, are all going to be in tune with the Objectivist position, and you can learn what Objectivists believe by studying Objectivism. However, if someone proclaims himself an anarchist or libertarian, you have only learned that they believe in no government or that they believe in freedom, respectively. You do not know what their metaphysical, epistemological, or ethical beliefs are; you do not know whether or not they have thought about deeper issues, whether or not they have a unifying philosophy, whether they have sound reasons based in reality or whether they just feel that the philosophy seems right. To say that anarchists 'just assume' is, in my view, highly erroneous. Previously, I would have described myself as an Objectivist. I would also, based on my understanding of libertarianism, have classified myself as a libertarian. Currently, I would classify myself as an anarchist. The arguments against government that I have read currently make more sense to me than the Objectivist arguments in favor of government. While I still agree with 99% of the Objectivist conclusions and reasonings, my current state of finding a 'no government' argument to be more logical means I cannot claim to be an Objectivist. However, it is not enough for me to label myself and then be done with it. If that was my nature, I would still be Catholic. Thankfully, it is not. I have held many positions in my life that later turned out to be erroneous. Being aware of my potential for arriving at incorrect conclusions, I now prefer to step back and analyze new conclusions before embracing them. The anarchist idea that there should not be a government seems something that I would especially want to analyze, as the vast majority of people believe 'no government' to be an incorrect conclusion. Therefore, either the vast majority of people are wrong, or I am wrong. If I am wrong, I do not want to be wrong. In short, I am not asking these questions in an attempt to prove anarchy and disprove Objectivism, or vice versa. I am asking these questions because I wish to know whether the anarchist idea of no government or the Objectivist idea of limited government is more rational. In order to assess this, it is important that I not make assumptions regarding what Objectivist limited government would look like, or how it would work - my first assumption, that an Objectivist government would not protect those who did not fund it, was incorrect. If the Objectivist position on retaliatory force is that it is acceptable, but only for a government, why is it only acceptable for a government? I understand that you differ from this official position; however, you stated that the government's right to use retaliatory force is a result of this right being "delegated by individuals to the government." What happens if different people delegate this right to different organizations? You also stated that ""delegated" implies that it is voluntarily ceded." I am unclear on this. How can one cede a right? I have a right to property; I can cede my property, but I can never cede my right to own property. I have a right to life; I can cede my life, but I can never cede my right to life. I can forfeit it, but that is different than ceding. If I have a right to use force "in retaliation against violation of one's rights", then I can cede my retaliation, but I cannot cede my right to retaliate justly. I may delegate someone to retaliate in my stead, just as I may delegate someone to argue my case in court; but if retaliation is a right, then at any point I may choose to excercise my right to retaliate, if I find that the individual(s) I delegated the retaliation to are less effective than I would be. Finally, you claimed that the ultimate arbiter of justice is the government. How does a government justify claiming this right? My personal view is that the ultimate arbiter of justice is reality. Do you disagree with this? Would you be willing to explain why? I apologize if you feel that I have attacked you. It is not my intent to attack, but to identify the truth of the matter. You raised many questions in my mind, and clarified the Objectivist position in many areas, and I for that I thank you. @Jake_Ellison: "... competing private agencies could not, by the definition of the term, provide objective justice." Why not? What aspect of the definition of objective justice disallows competing private agencies? If Joe wishes to enforce objective justice, and Susan wishes to enforce objective justice, why may they not compete with each other? This argument appears to be similar to the argument that morality requires religion. If morality is subjective, then this is true. If morality is objective, however, then morality no longer requires religion. Morality requires observe of objective reality. I fail to see how objective justice differs. If justice is objective, then it does not require a codified set of laws. It simply is. If slavery is unjust, the absence of a law stating that slavery is unjust does not make slavery any less unjust. In the case of slavery, slavery is unjust because the slaves' rights are being violated. As the slaves' rights are being violated, objective justice would seem to say that anyone may step in and correct the situation, not just individuals comprising the government. I admit that I may be in error; if you see a mistake, please let me know. @DavidOdden: "A free society is possible only in a rational society..." I agree. What I am unclear on is why a government would be necessary in a rational society. I understand that rational people still have disagreements; however, if we are presupposing that those who are disagreeing are rational, then why would these people not see the benefit in a peaceful solution? The claim appears to be that rational people will resort to irrational applications of force without the presence of a governing body. If these people are willing to resort to irrational applications of force, how can they be said to fit the definition of rational? ~~ Thank you again for taking the time to engage in this conversation; I look forward to your replies.
  9. Of late, I have been reading a lot of anarchistic literature, and am finding the philosophies to be... well, logical. This is somewhat of an alarm, as I've spent the past few years embracing Objectivist philophies... which clearly portray anarchism as an immoral philosophy. With that in mind, I thought I'd lay out my questions here, and see if they have already been pondered - and subsequently answered - by others. It is my understanding that Objectivism opposes the initiation of force. It is also my understanding that Objectivism involves a governmental body which is limited to the courts (laws), the police (internal defense) and the military (external defense). My questions revolve around these two points. Firstly, if a government is required to provide these services, through the nature of it being a government, is taxation compulsory or voluntary? If compulsory, how is this not an initiation of force? I'm not meaning to be smarmy; if it is the case that Objectivism supports compulsory taxation, I really am unclear as to how this would not be an initiation of force. It is an honest question. Conversely, if it is voluntary, how would an Objectivist nation contend with competing agencies (in those three areas)? For example, if taxation is voluntary, and I excercise the option not to pay the tax, I would assume that the service would no longer be rendered - for example, if I'm not paying the national police, I would not then expect that they would show up to my 911 call. What if I wish to pay a different organization to answer my 911 call? Am I allowed to pay someone else to do the same service, or are my options limited to a: paying for the national service or b: foregoing police protection? Please note that I'm not asking whether or not I would be allowed to pay an organization to enforce different laws than the national police, only whether or not I would be allowed to pay an organization to enforce the same laws as the national police, but in what I believed to be a more efficient manner. If I am not, why not? If I am, then what is to prevent the police force from being subjected to the same laws as the free market? If the government police force is optional, and I can get the same - or better - service elsewhere, is it still a necessary component of government? I have the same question in regards to the courts and the miltary. For the courts, I am not asking whether or not people would be entitled to support any laws they wish - I am asking whether or not they would be allowed to pay for a different organization than the national court system, which enforced the same laws but in a more efficient manner. Likewise, with the military, I am not asking whether or not people would be entitled to hire private armies and then attack other nations, or each other - I am asking whether or not people would be allowed to pay for a different organization than the national military to protect them from outside threat. If this type of competition is not allowed, why is it not allowed, and how is preventing it not an initiation of force? If this type of competition is allowed, why is a government necessary to provide these services? That is, if there exists the possibility that the large majority of people would decide to fund non-government organizations that provided the same services, then what would be the purpose and necessity of government? Thank you in advance to those who take the time to answer any of these questions.
  10. Thank you for the clarifications, everyone. DavidOdden, you are correct that I cannot expect any honest refutation of an argument without giving premises; I will endeavor not to repeat that error. Nonetheless the argument I spoke of has been invalidated. My confusion was in the difference between retributive and defensive force, which JMeganSnow has corrected; the argument relied on that lack of distinction. There is still a point that is unclear to me, however. If a government has a monopoly on retributive force, what is the correct course of action when the government misuses this monopoly? This can take the form of either using that force when it shouldn't, i.e. punishing someone unjustly or arbitrarily, or in not using that force when it should, i.e. allowing a violation of rights to go unpunished while preventing the injured party from seeking retribution independently. The most obvious response, to me, is that governmental usage of force must be very carefully regulated and subjected to the most severe objective scrutiny. The problem with this response is that it presupposes that those providing such regulation and scrutiny are both capable of the high demand placed upon them, and motivated to fulfill that demand honestly. In placing the sole responsibility and privilege of retaliatory force in your government, you must first have a confident opinion of your government's capability and motivation to properly retaliate for you. To illustrate, if a government that adhered to communistic ideals were to attempt a monopoly on retaliatory force, I would not agree; such a government would, by my reasoning, inevitably abuse such a monopoly. If, having considered your government's structure and examined its actions, you believe that it does not possess the capability or motivation to properly enact retributive force, what action should you take? If someone violates your rights, and your government does nothing, and you do nothing, then you have no security on your rights. If you take retributive action, then you have intruded on the government's monopoly of retributive force; in order to maintain their monopoly, the government must take action against you. If you attempt to reason the validity of your case, you are now depending on the listener being capable of and receptive to objective reasoning. If they are, there is no problem; but this is not a guarantee, and seems unlikely to occur. If the government was willing and able to hear such an argument, then why was it not acting on such a principle already? People are not automatically objective or reasonable. Many people appear to be wholly incapable of such virtues. For a government to be capable and motivated to properly enact retributive force, it seems evident that it must be composed of the most discerning individuals; those most objective, most attentive to reason, most concerned with facts and reality above all else. To give such a power to those incapable of those virtues would be to invite disaster. However, the ability to see what qualities are most necessary in government officials requires one to possess those qualities. You cannot reason with an unreasonable man; likewise, you cannot convince someone who does not view the world objectively of an objective truth. I realize this seems to be rambling off topic; I will try to bring it home. If your government is operating objectively, but you are not, then it will appear identical to a government operating unobjectively when you are. In simpler terms, whether you're wrong and they're right, or they're wrong and you're right, you'll still think that you're right. As long as there remains those who fail to think in objective terms, as long as people exist who accept things based solely on faith, tradition, feelings, or instinct, then a government will be seen to favor one at the expense of the other. I say 'seen to favor' deliberately; I firmly believe that a government staffed fully by objective, reasonable individuals would be to everyone's benefit. However, I cannot impart this view to someone unwilling to see it simply by wishing it so; I cannot force someone to see reason, no matter how reasonable my argument. For a completely rational, objective government to exist, anyone unwilling or unable to operate on objective thought would need to be prevented from voting; such people, through their votes, would enable a government to become comprised of those who would not properly utilize their office. If this seems to be an illogical leap, I am curious as to how objective laws are passed. By majority? Majority opinion does not contain any sort of objective truth, unless the majority operate under objective reasoning. By decree? This requires a certain amount of faith in the one making the decree; but if one is able to perceive the virtues necessary for objective laws, one could understand the laws themselves - one would not need decrees, one would need explanation. By explanation, then? This requires the ability to understand the explanation - it requires one to be able and willing to think objectively. Regardless of the angle I take, I continue to return to the conclusion that, in order for an objective government to function, a certain amount of force is necessary to form and maintain it - force that is initiatory, not retaliatory, and as such, immoral. This is operating on the assumption that the given area to be governed contains both rational and irrational people. If you were to remove the irrational people from the area, or conversely settle an area solely with rational people, then this dilemna is easily solved; if everyone in the jurisdiction was rational, then everyone would, through reasoned debate, come to objective conclusions together; there would be no issues with the government, as it would be impossible for irrational people to corrupt the government (as irrational people have been excluded from this area); the government, being only composed of rational individuals, would not be suspect; in fact, I seems every argument or point I just raised would be made moot in such a situation. It also seems that the necessity of a government at all would be made likewise moot. What are the duties of a government? To protect man from men; to protect a society from invaders; to protect a society from internal corruption; to provide a system by which disputes can be fairly settled. In the matter of protection from without, in a society composed of rational, objective individuals, everyone would be a soldier. If your society is threatened, your freedom and rights are threatened; in such a scenario, every member of a rational society would rise up to protect what was theirs, and strike down those who had threatened them. So long as 'barbarians' existed, rational individuals would keep their combat skills honed; and, as Ragnar Danneskjold said, those who deal through force would discover what happens when they meet mind and force. In the matter of protection from internal corruption, a society comrised wholly of rational individuals would not fear internal corruption; even in a society comprised of a majority of rational individuals, internal corruption would not be feared as those who were irrational and who would create internal strife and corruption would stand out like sore thumbs. In the matter of settling disputes, objective, rational individuals do not need others to settle their disputes; they can settle them themselves. In summary, the contradiction I am seeing is this: If a society is composed entirely, or even primarily, of objective, rational people, a government is unnecessary; if a society is composed in large part by those who are irrational and unobjective, then any government formed runs the constant risk of abuse. For those who are familiar with The Fountainhead, I find the situation Gail Wynand found himself in near the end of the novel illustrative of this: the paper he created ended up being used and abused by moochers and looters who could never have created it on their own, but who could utilitize it to further their own short sighted ends once it had been created. Comments would be appreciated.
  11. I agree. However, a point I have come across that I have been unable to solidly refute as yet is that a government's monopoly on force requires such disarmament of civilians. If anyone has a compelling argument on this point, I welcome it. This may simply be a result of some confusion on my part regarding the objectivist view of government, so some clarity would be appreciated. Does objectivism believe that government requires a monopoly on force, or is it simply saying that this is the current state of affairs?
  12. This may be resurrecting a long-dead debate; if so, I apologize. However, I found the initial question of this thread of possible similarities between anarchism and objectivism quite intriguing, and this started me thinking on a topic related to both philosophies. In my readings, I have noticed several different takes on force and the justifiability of its use. I have heard very eloquent arguments in favor of both complete pacifism and complete tyranny and everything ranging between; however, the only argument that I have found stood to reason is Rand's belief that one is never justified in initiating force, but that one is completely justified in responding with force against such an initiation. To the best of my knowledge, the obectivist view is that government is a monopoly on force, but that this monopoly is necessary in order for rights to be maintained. The anarchist view, contrastingly, is that any monopoly of force makes rights impossible. If these generalizations are inaccurate, please inform me - I make no claim to have any expert knowledge regarding either school of thought. The dillemna I've come across is in trying to decide when it is justified to rebel against a government, and what such a rebellion would imply to that government's monopoly on force. Socrates drank hemlock rather than contravene the laws of the state, despite believing that the verdict rendered against him was unjust. Martin Luther King repeatedly broke the law, but stipulated that this was only justified when he was prepared to face the consequences of doing so - paradoxically, he broke laws when he considered them unjust, but obeyed verdicts that sentenced him to prison terms, despite believing that such a verdict was unjust. Moving towards the violent scale, revolutionaries believe that the restrictions placed upon their freedoms gives them the right to forcibly overthrow the government, leading to such varied events as both communist Russia and America's declaration of independence from European empires. At the far extreme, terrorism often arises from a radical group's fervent belief that the only means they have of achieving freedom and securing their rights is by using wholesale force against civilian populations. I could argue the underlying irrationality in most of the above scenarios; however, I mentioned them not for their validity but as a means of demonstrating the vast spread of differing opinion regarding the justifiable use of force against a government. My questions to those with a deeper understanding of objectivism and anarchism is as follows: what circumstances, if any, allow for someone to justifiably use force against their government; in what manner; and what would constitute a government's initiation of force (i.e. unjustified jail time, disallowing pursuit of production, enforced acquisition to the will of the majority, etc.)?
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