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    I think I've read everything except periodicals published by Ayn Rand.
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    JOhn Carroll University
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SaulOhio's Achievements


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  1. One of the most important lessons for concept formation that I have learned from Ayn Rand is to avoid package dealing. For instance, many people want to package some vice with the concept of self-interest when they use the word "selfish". To them, selfishness means not only self-interest, but disregard for other people, or short-sightedness, "greed", or their strawman version of "extreme individualism". How is this related to Rand's Razor? http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/rands_razor.html Would self-interest and that other vice be thought of as "existents" in the context of this explanation of Rand's Razor? Because there is no essential reason to group disregard for other people's rights with self-interest, and especially since Rand showed there is no conflict of interests between rational men, would rejecting such a package deal be an application of Rand's Razor?
  2. Zip: I don't know what you mean, since evrything you just said is implied in my last paragraph, except for your insistence that you only act in IMMEDIATE self-defense. That is also a given. How wuld that change my definition? Jake_Ellison: Objectivism does define what SHOULD be legal that way, but governments do have laws that violate those standards. My definition covers the broader category, including governments that protect rights, and those that violate them. A=A: I think you are right. I'm not sure exactly where I got that specific definition. I think from the libertarian literature. But Ayn Rand does describe (not define, sorry, my bad) government as a monopoly on the use of force: From the Ayn Rand Lexicon: And this is originally from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. But my criticism still stands for this particular statement. Individuals do have the right to self defense in a situation where immediate action is needed to protect themselves at the time they are attacked when no other help is there. Ayn Rand does seem to acknowledge that, as she explains, also in Capitalism: "The individual does possess the right of self-defense and that is the right which he delegates to the government, for the purpose of an orderly, legally defined enforcement." But I still think calling it a legal monopoly is a bit awkward, given what I said earlier.
  3. I have always been a bit unsatisfied with the standard Objectivist definition of "government" as the institution that has a legal monopoly on the use of force. The use of force part is a given. There is no argument there. Everything that a government does is backed by force, and that is the one thing that distinguishes government from all other institutions. My problem has always been with the words "legal" and "monopoly". Since the government defines what is legal, including that word tends to put a circular aspect into the definition. Also, government does not have a monopoly on the use of force because we have the right, supported by government in the form of such things as the "castle doctrine", to use force in self-defense. The definition I propose is that government is the institution that is the ultimate authority on the use of force. You might use force to defend yourself, but if you do, there is usually at least a police investigation, maybe even a hearing, to determine if what you did was truly self-defense. In this way, you are free to use force, but the government has the authority to decide if you have used it responsibly.
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