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  1. A good example might be the color of a horse. The fact that one horse is brown does not imply that every other horse is brown. Brownness is not an essential characteristic of a horse. It is not even a necessary one. Other examples might be whether a horse has a limp, or whether it has been bred for racing. Let's get back to the original issue of "Objectivist" being a subclass of "libertarian" (again, "minarchist" might be better). Every Objectivist believes in his own life as the standard of value, but not every non-Objectivist libertarian shares this belief. However, both groups can be sub
  2. You are correct. What I meant was that a concept only requires its units to share some characteristics. I should have just said that what is true of one unit in a concept is not necessarily true of all other units in that concept. You're just taking the discussion back one step. OK, altruism and the denial of property rights are essentials of socialism. What's essential to altruism and the denial of property rights? Utilitarianism, religion, and social metaphysics. You can keep identifying intermediate steps, but you will eventually run into the fact that these philosophical motives are
  3. Characteristics essential to a concept are not always essential to broader concepts encompassing additional concretes. Consider the concept "mammal", defined as (http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/mammal.html): a class of warm-blooded vertebrate animals that have, in the female, milk-secreting organs for feeding the young [...] This definition does not represent the essential characteristic of man, defined as "a rational animal". Is the concept "mammal" thus invalid or useless? Of course that sentence isn't true. "Libertarian" (or perhaps "minarchist" would be better, see my exc
  4. We have no right to their services of government officials. On the other hand, poorly performing government officials have no right to remain in government. I see no violation of a police officer's rights in telling him that he can no longer use force outside of self-defense. Besides, government is a monopoly. An inept government that fails to protect rights is also preventing anyone else from protecting rights. By preventing the formation of a new, more effective government, the inept government is initiating force without justification. I think you're confusing the basic rights of gove
  5. "A libertarian is a person who holds that liberty is an absolute good." That’s a reasonable definition. If you believe that for reasons of etymology or tradition, the word “libertarian” must be attached to that particular concept, I can live with that. But in popular usage, a libertarian is no more “a person who holds that liberty is an absolute good” than a socialist is “a person who holds that social welfare is an absolute good”. If you choose to reject the popular meaning of a term and use it instead to label another concept, the burden is on you to show that there's something wrong
  6. Solution 3 seems potentially dangerous. When you speak of a "right to vote on how things are ran", you are talking about a "right to choose how force will be applied". Basically, the government would be selling the application of force against one's fellow citizens. Sure, some people would try to buy suffrage out of a rational interest in objective law. But they could likely be outbid by those seeking to make money through government force. The system you propose could easily lead to government initiating force on behalf of private parties. I think this would produce something near
  7. I've often heard Objectivists claim that Objectivists and non-Objectivist libertarians should not be grouped under the common name of "libertarian". I'm going to argue that we must have some concept (which I label "libertarian") that unifies these groups according to their common belief in a minimal state. To me, "libertarian" seems like a good name for this concept. As Rand defined it in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, a concept is "a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated according to a specific characteristic(s) and united by a specific definition." Many peo
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