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  1. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been appearing on TV claiming that we should not dismiss her political ideas on practical, economic grounds, because her goals are moral. Objectivists easily see through this garbage, but for our non-Objectivist friends, I offer some thoughts on how to counter socialists like Ocasio-Cortez. First of all, avoid doing what Matt Christiansen just did. He is trying to push Ocasio-Cortez off the moral high ground. He makes the same attacks as most anti-socialists (historically socialism doesn't produce positive results, and it's analogous to theft, etc.), but he also attempts to describe his own view of morality. Ah, but Ocasio-Cortez is indeed making a claim on other people's property and rights. She makes this claim in the name of the social good over the personal good. And it's going to be impossible for Christiansen to take the moral high ground while completely ignoring the moral high ground. All that bluster about "nobody owns your stuff but you", that's not an attack on the enemy's moral high ground. It's not even a skirmish along the baseline, which is the principle of altruism. If you really want to stop socialists like Ocasio-Cortez, stop wasting effort and time on the moral high ground, and join the egoists' battle against the baseline! For nobody keeps the high ground without first gaining and maintaining the baseline.
  2. In my country smoking is banned in many public places by the government. This leads me to wonder if there is such a thing as "a right to fresh air and not to suffer from the consequences of second hand smoke". If this is a valid right, then does this not conflict with the right of some others to smoke in public? If it is right to ban smoking, isn't the government doing something for the greater good and isn't it based on a collectivist premise? Can it be also viewed that giving man freedom is also for the ''greater good'' as this promotes affluence and optimal functioning for many people? Am I misapplying some concepts? My governement also fines people for littering.Is it right to say that it is not the government's role to fine people or to ban activities like littering? Do people have rights to a clean environment? Also in my country, there was a recent furor over how some people living in apartments had conflict over a neighbour's pungent cooking, the other party not liking the smell and demanding that the neighbour only cook that dish on days when that party was not at home. Is there a conflict of rights here? Is there such a thing as a right to a ''neutral environment" where there is no cigarette smoke, litter or offensive smell? Is it a right to not be made to suffer harmful or unpleasant consequences of other people's choices?
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