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An amoral political program

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While denouncing the Libertarian movement, Ayn Rand wrote the following:

what [Libertarians] hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program.
(Emphasis added)

My point is not to discuss Libertarianism, but rather to ask: Would an Objectivist political program not be "amoral" in some sense? For instance, would it not allow immoral behavior such as advocating religious ideas, simply because it's the legal right of the person advocating?

When I read John Locke's stance that atheists should not enjoy political freedom, my first problem with that was not that I'm an atheist (which is true enough), but that Locke would not grant me the freedom to exercise my beliefs- unless they harm someone else's rights- even if they conflict with his own moral conviction. Do you think that from an Objectivist point of view, there is something wrong in that line of thought?

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I think it takes create moral character to advocate the rights of people you disagree with. Where did Locke say atheists shouldn't enjoy political freedom?

Edited by Mammon

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Where did Locke say atheists shouldn't enjoy political freedom?

In his Letter Concerning Toleration . I'll bring the exact quote later.

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Where did Locke say atheists shouldn't enjoy political freedom?

Here:

Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of a god. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all

(John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration, Latin and English text revised by Mario Montuori, The Hauge: Martinus Nijhoff, 1963, p. 93)

As to:

I think it takes create moral character to advocate the rights of people you disagree with

From that, I can infer that an enormous percentage of the population has to be rational and moral, in order to establish even a partly- free society. Is that what you think?

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Locke's problem is that he's mistaken about whether atheists can honor agreements, presumably because he thinks that fear of god is the only thing that causes men to act morally.

I think the point is probably not that all moral choices should translate into a political requirement, but that all political requirements should have a moral foundation; and that's what's lacking from the libertarian political agenda.

BTW where did that Rand quote come from?

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Locke's problem is that he's mistaken about whether atheists can honor agreements, presumably because he thinks that fear of god is the only thing that causes men to act morally.

I think the point is probably not that all moral choices should translate into a political requirement, but that all political requirements should have a moral foundation; and that's what's lacking from the libertarian political agenda.

BTW where did that Rand quote come from?

The quote came from here:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pag...us_libertarians

And about Locke's problem- Locke is also advocating no tolerance for Catholics; you may think that his foundation for that (the fact that Catholics yield to the Pope) is much more reasonable (surely in the 17th century) than his presumption about atheists. And yet, under a proper free system, it would also be wrong to forbid Catholics their beliefs, would it not? Not because you have any sympathy for Catholics, and even though you perhaps think that people who practice Catholicism are immoral by the nature of their choice, it is still their *right* to believe in immoral things, is it not?

And that's why I ask if there isn't something amoral in a proper political system.

(I am not touching the Libertarian ideology per se, because I don't have sufficient knowledge of it, and also not the time to discover; I am not an American citizen, so I don't have a practical reason to think about that)

Edited by A.A

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Locke's problem is that he's mistaken about whether atheists can honor agreements, presumably because he thinks that fear of god is the only thing that causes men to act morally.

Well, Objectivism is basically the same, it just has a different definition of God: 'the highest possible'.

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Locke is also advocating no tolerance for Catholics;

This is a little less obvious than his no tolerance position on atheists; some scholars interpret it differently. So for argument's sake, let's assume he did mean that.

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Well, Objectivism is basically the same, it just has a different definition of God: 'the highest possible'.

Objectivism also does not advocate behaving morally out of fear of anything. Instead, it advocates behaving morally because it is practical for advancing your life, which is an end in itself.

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Would an Objectivist political program not be "amoral" in some sense? For instance, would it not allow immoral behavior such as advocating religious ideas, simply because it's the legal right of the person advocating?

Bear in mind that politics is a derivative science: it's the field of ethics applied to society.

Libertarians desire a certain kind of social system — one which upholds "freedom" and "liberty" — while giving virtually no consideration to the moral-philosophical roots which make these concepts possible.

In the Libertarian view, it doesn't matter how you've arrived at your political convictions; so long as you're in favor "limiting" the government (usually in some woozy, semi-undefined way), you're welcome to jump aboard their bandwagon.

The Objectivist system of government, by contrast, makes a clear distinction between what men have a proper moral right to legislate, and what they do not.

Objectivism holds that the use of force is improper, immoral, and has no place in any human relationship. This is demonstrably true; the use of force (or its corollary, fraud) results in actual, calamitous consequences for human beings in reality. In a free society, individuals may behave in as irrational a manner as they choose — even opting for total self-destruction, if that's their wish. But the moment a person crosses the line and begins to forcibly interfere with the lives of others, that's when a government has the right to step in and enact retribution against him.

Objectivist politics does not exist to make anybody "good." (This is the meaning of the attempt to "legislate morality.") Objectivist politics defines basic principles of social conduct, the adherence to which makes possible the peaceful coexistence of men. In that sense, the Objectivist political system is not only not "amoral," it is the only fully moral system of government ever developed.

Edited by Kevin Delaney

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To answer the OP, yes, an Objectivist political system would have to be amoral.

It would be because the state's prime functions are to prohibit the use of force by either domestic or foreign criminals, not to enforce morality.

Church and state are separate for this reason. The state, if it is free, cannot have any moral stances other then "thou shalt not initiateth force".

Picking a moral stance is similar to picking a stance on religion, or even a stance on the best hamburger stand.

In a world where there are competing philosophies and religions, the government is forced into a position of neutrality, as to not be tyrannical.

The only justified action (by the State) is to prevent these debates from turning into wars.

The state is legally bound to be neutral, and so, yes, it will be amoral on non-force issues.

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To answer the OP, yes, an Objectivist political system would have to be amoral.
See VOS p. 36: "The only proper, moral purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence", p. 37: "I will say only that every political system is based on and derived from a theory of ethics-and that the Objectivist ethics is the moral base needed by that politico-economic system which, today, is being destroyed all over the world, destroyed precisely for lack of a moral, philosophical defense and validation: the original American system, Capitalism."; p. 108 "Rights" are a moral concept—the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual's actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law."

Meaning, an Objectivist political system would not be amoral.

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