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In this little hypothetical let us say that a small group of dedicated O'ists were able to carve out a piece of territory for themselves. They have established a pure laissez faire economic system, a simple constitution protecting Life, Liberty and Property and in all respects have restricted government (constitutionally) to it's proper functions in accordance with Objectivist political philosophy...

Now considering the minuscule percentage of people who wholly embrace O'ism how does our intrepid band ensure their hard, moral and correct work doesn't get corrupted by an influx of moochers, looters and other various flavours of socialists?

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My suggestion:

Their constitution shouldn't allow amendment, and should (obviously) severely restrict the powers of government. So no matter who is elected, they don't really have any power to do any damage, except maybe defend the country poorly and be lax on crime.

Of course, the bad people might just elect officials who would ignore the constitution, or start a revolution; I think when that happens, you have to go start a new O'ist utopia. This just points to the importance that culture plays - everything follows the culture. Which is largely why real Oists are trying to change the culture, not starting utopias. :-)

What about the idea of barring from entry into the country anyone who doesn't agree with the principle of individual rights? I wonder if people here think that would be a legitimate course of action?

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What about the idea of barring from entry into the country anyone who doesn't agree with the principle of individual rights? I wonder if people here think that would be a legitimate course of action?

Someone could lie and say that they agree with the principle of individual rights but actually don't.

Government is only concerned with the actions of people and not their thoughts. The government should only step in when someone's rights have actually been violated.

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Someone could lie and say that they agree with the principle of individual rights but actually don't.

Government is only concerned with the actions of people and not their thoughts. The government should only step in when someone's rights have actually been violated.

Right, but taking an oath to uphold the principle of individual rights would still probably help things.

Come to think of it - don't people who are becoming US citizens have to swear some sort of oath to uphold the laws of the land, and the constitution? Maybe what I'm thinking about for the hypothetical country would be very similar to what's already in place in the US.

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Right, but taking an oath to uphold the principle of individual rights would still probably help things.

I don't think it's a bad thing especially if the concept is clearly defined and understood. I'm just saying that the answer depends upon the honesty of the individual.

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I agree with the idea of a non-amendable constitution, or at least having parts of it be made that way, but what I was really looking at is the form of the government.

Not being one to ask a question without having first thought of a possible answer I'll let you in on my proposed solution.

The problem is how to avoid government creep, and to keep the ideals under which our hypothetical Atlantis was created intact. To me this seems to necessitate something less than a democratic system and it's electoral free for all. What if kind of a corporate system was adopted. By a corporate system I mean one in which there is a President backed ideologically and monetarily by shareholders.

If the O'ists were actual physical shareholders in the nation (having paid a certain sum for a share thus helping with the funding of the state) as well as ideological shareholders (holding to and believing in O'ist principals and advocating them professionally and personally in their lives) and only those shareholders were able to stand for the position of President this should reasonably ensure that any political leadership aught to be in line with Objectivist principals.

Here's how I see the President being chosen. A shareholder who wishes to become the president submits his own nomination and his eligibility is confirmed by his status as a shareholder. However many candidates there are submit their credentials to the public for scrutiny and after a reasonable length of time an election is held and the President is chosen through a general election. For this election process I would rather see a Job application model used, no parties or long drawn out races. The candidate makes his CV public and answers questions one on one to the press. It's a job after all. I don't care how quick the leader is with some snide jab at the other guy vying for the job, that skill is not required by anyone who must really lead. I want to know what his credentials are, not what party he belongs to and how much pull he had to use within that party to get nominated.

Also rather than having a fixed electoral term I would also opt for an indefinite term for the President with periodic leadership revues both by the shareholders and the population. Should the Pres fail a leadership revue he is considered to have been fired from the job and the process then starts again.

I see becoming a shareholder as a lengthly process. Paying for your share would be the easy part (relatively). The hard part would be proving oneself to be an O'ist. I think that there would be a battery of tests as well as a lengthly 'discovery' period in which the applicant would be watched to see if he/she truly lives by O'ist principals. I know it sounds a little Orwellian but I think it would be necessary to try to ensure that only Objectivists become shareholders.

Another idea to further secure the system against the will of looters and moochers is to limit the voting franchise to property(land/real estate) owners.

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Right, but taking an oath to uphold the principle of individual rights would still probably help things.

I definitely agree with that in relation to citizenship (both for the born-local and the immigrant alike), though not to an immigrant, on the grounds of presumption of innocence because doing otherwise would mean the government initiating force against those locals who choose to allow on to their properties foreign people who haven't demonstrated any criminality. So, I would say to have no immigration quotas, and borders open except to those who have criminal records of any significant degree (which excludes non-crimes such as tax-evasion) and those who have demonstrably actively promoted the initiation of force (which is itself properly a crime).

Another thing that would be for real in such a country is that as free people we'd be perfectly capable of criticising what we want, as loudly as we want, and so on. With that in place you'd find that a lot of immigrants who'd hate our freedoms wouldn't come in the first place. Another again is that the government of such a country would not be squeamish about protecting the rights of all persons within its borders - which would include, for example, not being afraid of race or religion when rescuing abused children from parents inflicting physical aspects of nutty beliefs on their children (I agree with Dr Peikoff that the pedagogy alone is not sufficient). The consequence of this would be many of the children of those who do would be apt to tell their nutty parents where to go once they realised that their rights would be respected properly. Nurture is not destiny, and I share Dr Dawkins' outrage at the idea of a "Christian child", a "Muslim child" and so on. I've heard it said - and I tend to believe it - that a lot of fear and hate on the part of Muslims is precisely because their children would be "corrupted" by western ways if it weren't for the threat of violations of their rights to keep them in thrall.

With something like that in place, I find it hard to imagine a country being swamped by people with bad cultures to any great degree without that being part of a definite plan, in which case such a thing might constitute an act of war since there is deliberate intent to violate rights eventually. However, for that to work it would have to be so quick as to be obvious because otherwise the rebellion of their youth would set in, in which case it would be a matter of dealing with individual criminal immigrants as necessary. So, if there is no sign of a deliberate swamping, the more the merrier. So long as I would be confident that their rights would be respected, why should it bother me if my great great grandchildren were to speak Spanish, Swahili, Cantonese, Arabic or Urdu as their first language because of a large trend in immigration patterns?

JJM

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Thomas Jefferson said "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

In the case of government I think the important thing to keep watch of is the culture, and not the government itself. It would be good not to have a president or a Congress try to expand the government into areas it shouldn't go, but it would be even better for the bulk of the citizenry to be outraged at such attempts. Because in a free country ultimately the authority to govern is based on the consent of the governed, the best line of defense is to limit what the people will consent to.

Naturally having a well-written constitution limiting government would help, particularly one without the loop-holes in the US Constitution. But ultimately it is a cultural matter. Much of what government does today is not allowed for in the Constitution, yet that doesn't stop government from expanding.

To paraphrase a Greek mathematician, there is no constitutional road to maintaining liberty. It must be continuoulsy fought for and defended.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm new to this forum and relatively new to Objectivism, but so far from what I have read it appears to be often taken for granted that in a free society there must be a government to "enforce" such freedom - i.e., to protect citizens from violations of their rights by force (constraint from rational action). It's true, I think, that in anything *less* than a purely free economy, where conflicts can arise between two individuals or groups who are acting on fundamentally opposing metaphysical philosophies, there is a practical need for a mutually accepted authority which can "lay down the law" because otherwise an irrationality on the part of one or both parties will result in the initiation of force. I do not dispute the need for a government given current facts of reality.

However, given that Zip's query stipulates the context of a "pure laissez faire economic system", I am surprised that all the responding posters assumed government involvement in such a society. I have noticed this tendency on other threads as well if anyone disputes that it is a common view, and will support this assertion if anyone cares to question it. Far from assuming that a society exclusively made up of "a small group of dedicated O'ists" who are able to "carve out a piece of territory for themselves" - which I assume would mean that they or one or some individuals among them possess property which they are legally and practically able to defend the borders of and control entrance to - why does this group then need to formally agree upon such a constitution or the means of enforcing it or by whom it is enforced?

Instead, it seems that such a society would "ensure their hard, moral and correct work doesn't get corrupted by an influx of moochers, looters and other various flavours of socialists" individually, rather than collectively, by whatever means proves most economically effective. For example, in Atlas Shrugged, Midas Milligan owns Galt's Gulch and sells parcels of it to others who share his ethics and from whom he thinks he will probably derive some value (because he gets to live in a society of rational men). He also personally pays to have the entire community protected from outside influence by means of the ray shield and by means of making sure anyone who gets to enter the community is someone who deserves the privilege. Midas obviously makes money from the whole setup or else he wouldn't do it - but everyone inside obviously concedes benefit as well or else they wouldn't stay or would find a better way of protecting themselves. Someone will anticipate the potential for a problem before a crisis arises, develop a profitable way to deal with it, and use the market to distribute it and profit from his work. Such measures would preclude the possibility of moochers, etc. just joining the community and ruining everything.

If someone inside the community started acting immorally/irrationally, then people would stop doing business with him. A competitor would seize the opportunity to take over his market and he would end up having no influence - his filth won't spread.

So I think a pure lassiez faire system would naturally protect itself from Nihilist infection and I don't see why a government would be needed to get involved for the purpose of "protecting" a society from moochers or any other breed of parasite.

Footnote: I would describe a "government" that is funded by "voluntary donation" a business, not a government. Everyone pays the fee and if they don't get what they signed up for, they stop paying you and find someone who can do it. In a purely free society where everything is privatized, governments would simply be irrelevant because for every function the government performs, someone would find a better way to do it.

Of course I realize that I'm describing some kind of anarchy, and that there must be some reason that Objectivism is not categorized as an anarchist system, so what am I missing?

I certainly can't see any justification for needing to "watch the culture" or steer public opinion. If you're right, be right, be the evidence that you are right, just as Ayn Rand's writing Atlas Shrugged was evidence in itself that people like Dagny Taggart exist in the world. If no one, in a society of free men whose common tie is a commitment to reason and lives of reason, agrees with your evidence, then I think you would have good reason to go back to the drawing board and examine your own reasoning.

EDIT: Sorry for such a long post. I should add that, like I said, I'm new to this and my goal is to clarify my understanding of Objectivism. So if I accidentally said anything offensive, please chalk it up to being a noob and explain what the error is.

Edited by bluey
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No need to apologize for lenght, Bluey, just so long as the content is intelligent and coherent and does not go off point.

To your points.

However, given that Zip's query stipulates the context of a "pure laissez faire economic system", I am surprised that all the responding posters assumed government involvement in such a society.

A Laissez-faire society by definition is a society with governmental controls. These controls only hold sway over the use of physical force by others. No individual has the right in a laissez-faire society to initiate force onto anyone else, and when they do, they ought to be met with swift punishment by the governing force that has jurisdiction.

I'm sure you know this, but you're stealing a concept when you say a laissez-faire society wouldn't need a government. By definition there needs to be a government. No society can exist freely without an entity that is dedicated to protecting rights, and only a single entity, not multiple competing ones. Your suggestion that everyone should just fend for themselves with no objective source of law leads to anarchy. People can kill others just for the Hell of it, and then people can kill them back. All it takes is a single aggressive act in a state of Anarchy to have the whole thing unravel.

Your analogy about Galt's gulch is flawed. There was a government there, and in a small community such as that, perhaps that is how we should run our government ( Without all the cool ray shields and shit ). Remember, there weren't other people coming up with their own sources of laws and statutes. There was a single entity that made the laws and enforced them. Also, you have to remember that Galt's gulch was on a very small scale, with many people who already knew eachother. There wasn't the need for something like a federal/state distinction and things of that nature that would be needed to govern a large body of people. Thankfully in a completely rational society, theres very little need for government except in civil cases, but theres always the chance of murder, theft or fraud and there ought to be something there to punish them and lock them up depending on the nature and severity of the offense.

I am not sure how familiar you are with Objectivist political philosophy, but you will find very few voices here speaking out against the notion of a voluntary tax/donation system to fund government. I myself have been racking my brain on and off, writing stuff down and trying to formulate new ideas on how a government would extract money voluntarily from the population.

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A shared philosophy will not guarantee 100% agreement in business, hence the need for civil law and therefore a government to codify it. Illegal acts would not be impossible, therefore a police force is required. The existence of other nations who may wish to take what is ours necessitates the need for a military to protect everyone which must be subservient to a government.

All of these three required functions of a government require a framework within which to operate, a constitution... just like a business has an operational plan and mission statement if you prefer the business approach.

Society is a voluntary association of people, but any time you get more than 4 people in a room you will have an argument, no matter how much they agree on principals and fundamentals.

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It's true, I think, that in anything *less* than a purely free economy, where conflicts can arise between two individuals or groups who are acting on fundamentally opposing metaphysical philosophies, there is a practical need for a mutually accepted authority which can "lay down the law" because otherwise an irrationality on the part of one or both parties will result in the initiation of force.
Okay, now examine what a "free economy" is (I want you to see why government is necessary, period). A "free economy" is one where the government does not use improper force in economic transactions. The concept "free economy" does not mean "society where the nature of rights are both universally understood and exceptionlessly respected". In a free economy, there is ample opportunity for parties to disagree as to the terms of an agreement, and there can easily be miscreant individuals who pilfer and cheat.
However, given that Zip's query stipulates the context of a "pure laissez faire economic system", I am surprised that all the responding posters assumed government involvement in such a society.
Notice, though, that that too was in Zip's context: "a simple constitution protecting Life, Liberty and Property and in all respects have restricted government (constitutionally) to it's proper functions in accordance with Objectivist political philosophy". That's why we don't need to explicitly argue for what he has already acknowledged.
Far from assuming that a society exclusively made up of "a small group of dedicated O'ists" who are able to "carve out a piece of territory for themselves" - which I assume would mean that they or one or some individuals among them possess property which they are legally and practically able to defend the borders of and control entrance to - why does this group then need to formally agree upon such a constitution or the means of enforcing it or by whom it is enforced?
In part to be able to control entrance. Suppose that 1,000 Objectivists move to Galt county Colorado and purchase all of the land and establish a government. There can't be any restrictions on people from the outside moving to Galt county, if you don't have some kind of legal principle prohibiting the sale of land to "outsiders". A free society requires stable and objectively-stated laws which do exactly one thing: protect the rights of individuals. An objective document -- a constitution -- defines what that means. Because you can't guarantee that all residents of Galt county will always be ideal rights-respecting Objectivists, some means other than trusting to luck is needed to secure the permanent blessings of liberty.

The anarchic viewpoint is either entirely unrealistic or else hyper-pessimistic. It is unrealistic in assuming some sci-fi mind control whereby magically mankind "evolves" to being perfectly and exceptionlessly rational, or hyper-pessimistic in recognising that a utopian society will never actually be realized and thus we can't improve on our current situation. The Objectivist view is more robust: it recognises the possibility of a stable and ideal society even when there are less-than-ideal individuals.

Instead, it seems that such a society would "ensure their hard, moral and correct work doesn't get corrupted by an influx of moochers, looters and other various flavours of socialists" individually, rather than collectively, by whatever means proves most economically effective.
Nevertheless there must be a single uniform, objective, and specific recognition of the nature of the rights being protected and the consequences of violating rights. That cannot be left to the whim of the individual.
If someone inside the community started acting immorally/irrationally, then people would stop doing business with him.
If it were uniformly agreed that the immoral man should be shunned. I doubt that would happen. For example, it is immoral for a man to cheat on his wife, or for a man to drink too much, so you would think that automatically such a man would be in economic hell because nobody would do business with him. But he has contracts with others whereby they are obligated to sell him a cow and 10 bushels of wheat every month, for a stated price. The cow-seller may not reneg on his contract (that would lead to him being economically shunned); and even in the case of ordinary grocery store sales, it's unreasonable to expect that everybody will automatically translate their moral judgment into a complete shunning.

This "be your brother's keeper" approach easily reduces to self-sacrifice. If Smith has a drinking problem, as one instance of an immorality, individuals should refuse to do business with him, according to shunning theory. That means the guy who makes and sells beer should reduce his sales and net profit, for what? The sake of another man. This is plain altruism (and the beer-seller is being so irrational that all decent men should refuse to have anything to do with him, so the cow-seller should forgo the profits that he makes by selling cows to the beer-seller. Altruism again!).

So I think a pure lassiez faire system would naturally protect itself from Nihilist infection and I don't see why a government would be needed to get involved for the purpose of "protecting" a society from moochers or any other breed of parasite.
A government, specifically a particular form of government, is needed to restrict the actions of government -- to objectively delimit the powers that a government can wield. That would mean, for example, having an anti-Welfare clause in the constitution. Such a clause is necessary to overcome the problem that Objectopia would founder if laws are simply "whatever the people decide at a given time".
Footnote: I would describe a "government" that is funded by "voluntary donation" a business, not a government.
That is an error. A government is the (singular) entity that has the exclusive right and obligation to use retaliatory force in order to protect the rights of an individual; it also states objectively what those rights are. Those rights are enforced uniformly: the notion of competing government-businesses founders on the point that business is based on explicit voluntary agreement (contract) and government operates even in lieu of an agreement.
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Thanks for all your answers. I've been doing some more reading and I think I understand more of what the issue is now. Of course there needs to be a constitution because a group of people needs an explicit context in which to deal with each other (when there are enough of them that they need to deal with strangers regularly), and it follows that there needs to be a government in order to enforce the constitution, protect the community from malicious outsiders, and settle civil disputes. I think that because the Canadian government is the only one I have any experience with, the whole concept of a "government" seems necessarily socialist to me - i.e., that it's a given that people can't govern themselves and therefore need a government to do it for them. It makes more sense when you frame it in terms of everyone agreeing NOT to use retaliatory force (except in cases of emergency and immediate self-defence) and instead appoint a government and give it "the exclusive right and obligation to use retaliatory force in order to protect the rights of an individual". Then you avoid vigilanteism without giving up any positive rights.

But then again that's how it all starts, isn't it? It seems like in Canada if there is anything that everyone is perceived to need equally, then that is something the government should take care of. Moreover, most people feel that giving up a percentage of their income in taxes is a worthwhile cost for the services they are provided in exchange (I'm pretty sure that will change eventually, because we're going to reach the end of our resources and things will start falling apart, like in Germany, but for now there's no denying that life in Canada is a pretty good deal. Complaining about taxes is like complaining about the weather.). So if the rational for a government being the appropriate institution to enforce national security is that everyone wants the country's constitution enforced, and therefore everyone will give up thier right to retaliatory force (either voluntarily or as a condition of citizenship) and agree on a government to enforce the laws instead and this government will somehow be funded through non-coercive means - then what's to stop this reasoning from extending to other things like health care? Everyone is going to need or want basic health care at some point. Couldn't one argue that it would be so much more effecient if we just all gave up our right to get that health care from whoever we wanted, pooled our resources and had the government dole it out according to need? Obviously no, that would not be more effecient at all, because the nature of a government is ineffeciency and while it might sound great to some, the reality of the situation is inferior technology and service, unnecessary deaths due to long waiting lists, etc. So if a government can't run a health care system effeciently, why can it run national security effeciently? Why do we need a government to protect us from muslim extremists but not from cancer - given that the technology exists to control both threats?

[if I'm hijacking this thread let me know and I'll start a new topic. It seems relevant to me so I'll keep it here for now.]

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what's to stop this reasoning from extending to other things like health care?

But then you have already broken your constitution which limits the government to Police, Law and National defence

Everyone is going to need or want basic health care at some point.

everyone wants to be a millionaire too...

Couldn't one argue that it would be so much more effecient if we just all gave up our right to get that health care from whoever we wanted, pooled our resources and had the government dole it out according to need? Obviously no, that would not be more effecient at all, because the nature of a government is ineffeciency and while it might sound great to some, the reality of the situation is inferior technology and service, unnecessary deaths due to long waiting lists, etc.

Efficiency has nothing to do with it. It is a question of rights, your right to dispose of your earnings as YOU see fit. The government, the properly constructed Laissez Faire, capitalistic government has NO right to appropriate your money to support such a system. Even if it could do it more efficiently.

So if a government can't run a health care system effeciently, why can it run national security effeciently? Why do we need a government to protect us from muslim extremists but not from cancer - given that the technology exists to control both threats?

Look above, it has nothing to do with efficiency.

Let's say you have asthma. You require an inhaler to continue breathing. I don't... Your asthma is no danger to me. It will not strangle me in my sleep and you are not dangerous because of it. This negates the need for government to intervene to prevent the initiation of force by me or by you.

Lets say Muslim extremists wish to destroy our society. I need to live in a free society in order that I can have my rights to Life, Liberty and Property, so do you. The extremists are a danger to both of us. They will initiate force against us both, in order to remove our rights. This necessitates the action of Government to defend our rights and prevent the initiation of that force.

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I am not sure how familiar you are with Objectivist political philosophy, but you will find very few voices here speaking out against the notion of a voluntary tax/donation system to fund government. I myself have been racking my brain on and off, writing stuff down and trying to formulate new ideas on how a government would extract money voluntarily from the population.

I came up with an idea for this, and just couldn't resist putting it down.

The government hires a contractor who, every... April 15th, let's say, sends out a form to the citizens of the country. Adorned in black, gold, and white (the colors of capitalism), the sheet will say "Do you value your property? Do you value your life? Do you value your Safety, and liberty? Please consider sending a donation from your income of $X.YZ to congress to help finance their protection of our great society!" or something like that. Included would be a little form which you can fill out that will let you send some money to the government.

Every rich Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart who wants their skyscraper protected from the Mob would undoubtedly send at least a few dollars. I would: I'd hire a pretty young secretary to find out how many policemen it would take to protect my skyscraper from a small mob of, say, 500-1000 people. Then have her calculate how much they would all be paid. Then add in a couple hundred extra for the army, and ship it off in the mail. Then we'd go out to dinner. :)

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Let's say you have asthma. You require an inhaler to continue breathing. I don't... Your asthma is no danger to me. It will not strangle me in my sleep and you are not dangerous because of it. This negates the need for government to intervene to prevent the initiation of force by me or by you.

But what if some disease or illness that costs a lot strikes you and you don't have the money? That's the bad part of healthcare not run by the government.

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But what if some disease or illness that costs a lot strikes you and you don't have the money? That's the bad part of healthcare not run by the government.

This is what God made health insurance for. (Note to those previously unexposed to my idiosyncratic sense of humor: I am kidding about who made health insurance.) It would be much more usable and affordable if government policies didn't encourage health insurance to include routine stuff--analogous to your auto insurance paying for oil changes and brake jobs--and if government didn't require you to purchase insurance for things not likely to happen. (Why the f*ck am I covered for pregnancy?)

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If the constitution of the Free State limits government and protects individual rights, then a chimpanzee could run the country through a series of button presses illicited by lighted signals. In my opinion the function of a leader in an Objectivist society is to ensure on the case by case basis that individual rights are protected and the borders are kept safe from intrusion (Including illegal immigration -and- invasion) then the country will be fine on its own. Police and Army, that's all that's required. Perhaps another role of the leader may be to maintain diplomatic relations with other countries, but import and export could mostly be handled by corporations themselves. The only purpose of diplomacy would be to try and have like-minded allies in the case of a large scale invasion.

Keep in mind I haven't had the ability to argue these points with anyone before so there may be flaws in my logic.

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I suppose in a state with no taxes there would be no way to illegally reside in the country, unless you didn't own where you lived. Point taken, no need for illegal immigration.

Which is the premise why, after removing welfare (and other socialistic functions of government) as well as the compulsory taxes, the problem would *poof* disappear. Anyone who wants to work, can come. Anyone who does not want to work, can come, but will not get any money or food or shelter, etc. As for the myth of "overpopulation", that has been proven time and again by economists to be just that, a myth.

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Okay, to play devil's advocate I have a few scenarios. I am curious to how they would be handled in an Objectivist society.

SCENARIO ONE

The Objectivist society is invaded by a neighboring militant collectivist country whose state-funded army is five times the size of the Objectivists'. Large sums of money--billions of dollars--are required in extremely short notice to combat the invading force. Meanwhile, because of the sudden warfare, the economy suffers a major downturn as a result of lost production, changes in the desirability of many goods, eliminating billions of dollars of wealth because of the market drop. In short order, the cost of many raw materials such as fuel and steel, are going to skyrocket because of the increased demand on the market needed for a massive military buildup.

What would be the proper Objectivist course of action for this scenario? Would you really believe that, having lost untold amounts of wealth, that a sufficient amount of money, labor and raw materials could be raised on a solely voluntary basis?

SCENARIO TWO

Three major corporations build automobiles in the Objectivist country. In order to maximize profitability, they decide to streamline their business models. First off, they all agree to reduce their advertising budgets to roughly half their previous spending--all three companies pledge to spend the same amount; less advertising for each company results in less expenses and therefore more profit for all. Secondly, they agree to price their vehicles identically--but they roughly double the price to what the market can afford, resulting in more profitability. Third, they agree to equally lower the quality of their automobiles, making them less expensive to manufacture and also increasing their profitability.

Now, the owners of these three automotive companies have relationships with all the major banking and financial institutions, as they not only handle their banking and investment portfolios for the corporation, but also make great business by providing loans to prospective automobile owners for purchasing these vehicles. Through these mutually beneficial business dealings the bank profits hundreds of millions of dollars a year or more.

Since the automotive companies are now producing less advertised, poorer quality vehicles that are more expensive, they are open to competition. In an Objectivist society how would one open a competing business in this scenario?

Here are some of the problems: the cost to start an automotive company is measured in billions of dollars of start up capital. The banks are probably not going to finance your business because they would potentially (very likely) lose their lucrative loan/investment business with the automotive companies (to do so would be anti-Objectivist--not acting on their own self-interest) on an unproven business. If your new auto company is unable to secure a business relationship with a financing company they may not be able to offer credit, potentially making it impossible for a consumer to purchase your vehicles. What's to stop the three major corporations from temporarily lowering their prices so low that, while they take a loss, they drive you out of business because their massive reserves of money made from when they were monopolizing the market, while you have only a small reserve as a new business?

SCENARIO THREE

A man is tired of his job as a janitor, because the market value for his skills are very low and he is paid very little. He decides to start a new business performing abortions out of his home. His price is half that of his competition so he quickly finds trade among young women with poor incomes. However, because he lacks any experience, education or training in the medical field a number of patients become sick and one dies as a result of an infection. If taken to court, the janitor claims that the women were not forced to seek out his services and they were duly counseled about the dangers of the procedure. In fact, he had a contract form that all patients were required to sign indicating they were aware of the dangers of the operation.

How would this scenario be handled in an Objectivist society? Would an Objectivist society find the need to regulate professions such as medicine, architecture, engineering and so forth? If so, how is this in accordance with a purely "laissez faire" government?

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Okay, to play devil's advocate I have a few scenarios. I am curious to how they would be handled in an Objectivist society.

SCENARIO ONE

The economy has been severely crippled, we are outnumbered and outgunned and have no way to fight back. How exactly would slavery help things? Also, why were we not aware of this growing state beforehand and why didn't we take preventative measures (such as the much touted 'Bomb Iran' route?)

SCENARIO TWO

- This is just inherently impossible, so I'll leave it to someone with more patience to explain why in theory this is wrong, and why in practice, it has proven wrong every time.

SCENARIO THREE

- If he adequetly represented the risks of the procedure (which I think a man standing with a clothes-hanger in his basement would make quite obvious) then those who he does business with have no right to complain that they were the victim of any crime. It's as simple as that. You answered the question yourself.

As for a regulatory board, it is very easy to set up a private, third-party which performs studies on all companies within its juristiction - similar to the way that car manufacturers and electronics manufacturers enter their products into 'Best of...' studies by third parties. It is in their interest as it proves that they are reliable and their products are good, as assured by an unbiased third party.

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