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JohnS
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I'd like to offer another hypothetical response. In the situation where your friend gets fired for being gay, he may go to the media, they could publish a story about how company X fired him for being gay, gay people might not buy from that company anymore, heck, maybe even some straight people. You're saying that government protects us from irrational people controlling us by controlling us. We're saying that government control enables irrational people to control. A mix of control and liberty does not actually include any liberty. If you put someone in a box and say 'you can do whatever you want inside that box.' You're still controlling him. He is unable to get out of the box, for his own protection, because outside the box there may be germs, or people wanting to kill him. He is confined to grow inside the box. When he's too big for the box, or he's done everything one possibly can in the box, in your view, well too bad for him. At least he got the chance to grow in his box, at least we've all got boxes.

For rational self interest. Irrationally, and pragmatically, it is in my self interest to try and locate you so I can say 'become an Objectivist or I will kill you,' and any other liberals I know of, and any republicans I know of. Then I can finally live in a world of Objectivists. But then, I would have reduced the population by a lot, infrastructure would die from lack of labor, the economy would shrink, and ultimately I would have broken my principle in order to try and maintain the principle. If a man is rationally selfish he must acknowledge and respect that other men are free to exist. It is not in my rational self interest to steal or murder, because I would not tolerate anyone stealing from or attempting to murder me. It is in effect an unsaid trade with all rationally self interested people. "In exchange for you not stealing from me, I will not steal from you." This is illustrated in the oath "I swear that I will never live for the sake of another man, or ask him to live for mine." (Atlas Shrugged)

You keep talking about the proletariat as though an average person is incapable of doing for him or herself. In your view, an average person is incapable of making himself happy, and so this -denotes- a fundamental responsibility from a more capable person to make him happy. This is erroneous. Unless the average person is mentally retarded he is fully capable of pursuing his own happiness as designated in his fundamental rights by the Constitution. You might say 'well if the economy is keeping him poor then he is being denied this fundamental right.' This however is a misinterpretation of the right. Firstly because your solution involves me spending my money to help him get happy, and secondly because in a free market any person with a small amount of effort is capable of getting a reasonable job. It is government regulation and taxation that prevents your average homeless person from being able to take part in the free market, barring any mental problems. It is also a lack of understanding of the free market that causes most people to believe in government regulation and taxation.

I used to be a utilitarian, but my conversion can be summed up very simply. If all the people in the world -stopped- trying to focus on making everyone else happy, and every single person simply focused on making him or herself happy, then if successful -everyone- would be happy. Utilitarian goal met without any control.

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So an employer can force those he hires to vote how he wishes or not hire them? This is freedom? If a freedom cannot be engaged, it is useless. I don't want to live in that world, so I cannot imagine becoming an Objectivist :\ Something interesting came to me though.

I would imagine that if the United States wishes to remain a competitive nation it must develop the minds of its people. Can this be a justification for large social spending on behalf of the federal government? I.E. can this be viewed as an investment in people that will become more productive, and pay more in taxes than it cost to educate them? This might violate your tenet of government coercion; i.e. if one person disagreed with this investment plan and was taxed anyway you have a tyranny.

In any case, I can't help but say that my ultimate goal is utilitarian in nature. Objectivism could care less about this goal. It seems to be personal liberty and empowerment and glorification of the elite with all balances being evil and wrong. I can't even imagine how an Objectivist would govern. Government doesn't work without compromise and you guys say any compromise is instant loss. I can't see how an Objectivist would deign to be in a legislature. Government would gridlock up as Objectivist refused to give an inch of ground. Is there nothing to be said of political expediency?

EDIT: What of the mentally and physically handicapped?

Edited by JohnS
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To me it is a semantic difference.

Perhaps this is the problem.

Do you see any difference between the initation of force when someone pulls a gun on you, the 'force' of someone's personality, the gravitational 'force' of the Earth and the way you are 'forced' to eat food if you want to survive?

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So an employer can force

Be careful of your use of the word "force" (I admit I thought if I should have used it in my post). The employer in your scenario is not forcing you - you the the choice to remain in his employment or to walk away. The word "force" implies a lack of choice. You ALWAYS have the choice to leave and go work somewhere else. Moreover to be pragmatic for your sake - why on Earth would you even WANT to work for such a dispicible man as you keep bringing up in these hypotheticals? Do you realize that if a boss REALLY behaved in this way - every employee would have quit long ago and gone to work for someone who wasn't a complete wacko?

What of the mentally and physically handicapped?

This is a whole other issue so let's stay focused in this thread on where it is going already rather than creating another tangent.

Is there nothing to be said of political expediency?

Not at the cost of principle ;)

Edited by KevinDW78
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I don't see any difference between the force of a government and the force of an individual in regards to things they are depriving me of. If you are going to seriously defend a situation where a boss can give lie detector tests to individuals in an effort to force them to vote a certain way...well don't count on mainstream success being around the corner. With a law that says a person cannot do that, has MY liberty been reduced? Nope. I'm still working, and I can vote how I wish. My freedom is increased. The freedom of the employer to do something horrible has decreased. I shall lose no sleep on this one. By the way, I'm still interested in what to do with the mentally and physically disabled...who takes care of them?

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well don't count on mainstream success being around the corner

I wouldn't. Any employer who acted in such an irrational way would soon be out of business, as I keep telling you. You seem to want to ignore that aspect. You are arguing that if everyone acted as an Objectivist - all employers would be behaving like these idiots you keep creating in your hypotheticals. You are arguing in a fantasy world that would never exist in reality. First of all - any businessman who behaved like this would never get his business off the ground. You still haven't answered my question - who would even choose to WORK for such a moron? You can't keep pushing that aside. NO rational employer would ever behave in the way you keep describing. We are simply arguing that he may have a RIGHT to behave in any foolish way he wants - that does not necessarily follow that just because an employer CAN act like a complete idiot - that he automatically WILL act like a complete idiot - and even if he did - he would have to suffer the consequences of that decision and would soon be out of business.

Edited by KevinDW78
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I wouldn't. Any employer who acted in such an irrational way would soon be out of business, as I keep telling you. You seem to want to ignore that aspect. You are arguing that if everyone acted as an Objectivist - all employers would be behaving like these idiots you keep creating in your hypotheticals. You are arguing in a fantasy world that would never exist in reality. First of all - any businessman who behaved like this would never get his business off the ground. You still haven't answered my question - who would even choose to WORK for such a moron? You can't keep pushing that aside. NO rational employer would ever behave in the way you keep describing. We are simply arguing that he may have a RIGHT to behave in any foolish way he wants - that does not necessarily follow that just because an employer CAN act like a complete idiot - that he automatically WILL act like a complete idiot - and even if he did - he would have to suffer the consequences of that decision and would soon be out of business.

First I need a better reason than "it isn't profitable" on why not to seriously screw up someone's life. Also there is geography. If someone is out in the middle of Pakistan or somewhere, the job options are limited. Either work for the crazy factory owner or not. Certain situations can allow a business to act stupid and yet still do well because of other factors and the market the company is in. You can argue that eventually the free market will take its toll, but there is always a time lag and there is no inherent limit on how long that lag is. In that interim lag a factory owner can do these stupid decisions and yet still be successful. Also, if the culture of an area dictates, all business can team up and hamper themselves by, for example, firing atheists and the end result is they will all break even with each other. The cost: the production of those atheists as opposed to non atheists. The benefit: not having to work around godless heathens. In fact, under objectivism what would stop a factory owner from stipulating that all female employees must be sexual servants to the management? Obviously the free market would shoot this down in the US but I think it would be quite safe to assume it would be rampant in other countries (especially since it happens illegally all the time). Bosses illegally abuse their power and this small inefficiency will not bring the company to its knees.

Also, I'm increasingly curious about the mentally and physically handicapped :\

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First I need a better reason than "it isn't profitable" on why not to seriously screw up someone's life.

I believe profit is the main (perhaps the only) reason for business to exist in the first place, so I'm not sure what other reason to give. Without profit, the business won't be able to operate and will close.

Also there is geography. If someone is out in the middle of Pakistan or somewhere, the job options are limited.

Put your belongings into a bindle and start walking. Those people are not shackled to the factory. And if the business owner had never setup there in the first place, what would those people be doing to survive in the first place?

In fact, under objectivism what would stop a factory owner from stipulating that all female employees must be sexual servants to the management?

Reality. A rational person would never behave in that way. Certainly an Objectivist would NEVER behave in such a way. Moreover, in reality, nobody would ever apply to work for such a business and the company would have to close. (I know yu want to keep evading that answer - and maybe that's because you realize that it IS the answer and want to be in denial about it).

Also, I'm increasingly curious about the mentally and physically handicapped

The forum's seach feature can point you to other threads that exhaustively examine this but to give you a short answer - charity organizations.

I'll let the oo.net night shift take over from here lol

Edited by KevinDW78
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I don't like double posting but I don't think this should be an edit. I've done some research. I read the following at http://ergosum.wordpress.com/2007/11/12/wh...r-the-disabled/

"In a free society, people with disabilities may be taken care of by several means: family members, lovers, friends, immediate social groups, the general benevolence and voluntary charity of free individuals, private institutions, corporations, religious organizations, etc. You do not need to have the concrete and specific answer to this. Just think at the level of principles." Just think at the level of principles. So basically Objectivists have no solution. They just think one will happen and if it doesn't then that is a necessary sacrifice. Just think of principle.....Just think of principle. Don't think about the person. Principle over people is not a principle I could endorse under any circumstance. I see now the brick wall between us :\ You really do stick to your guns, your principles. If people get hurt or injured by this process, it simply doesn't matter. I think that is what scares me away from those that are principled. They will watch the world burn before violating their hallowed beliefs.

I'm not experiencing anger now. I feel numb. I don't know, nor have I ever had the stomach for Objectivism. I see that now. I wish it could work! Oh how I wish it could work. Then again, I felt that way about communism. hmm :\ just some half-shocked reactions from what I read. It's quite....disheartening to be honest.

EC edit: I'm not trying to avoid the answer. I think its a bit utopian to say "well an Objectivist would never do that". Well.... not everyone will be an Objectivist. Some people are...well...assholes. Secondly, I'm not going to get bogged down in the (very real) details of picking up a sack and moving. I think that's callous. Things just aren't so simple and I feel you're dodging reality as it is now. Surely if people ILLEGALY treat their employees as prostitutes now, SOMEONE will do it legally under an Objectivist government. Also, the fact that Objectivism is a philosophy that uses words like "right" and "wrong" and yet can't call that wrong enough to be outlawed is a problem.

Edited by JohnS
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First I need a better reason than "it isn't profitable" on why not to seriously screw up someone's life.

It may be the you need to be more explicit about what you mean by being "screwed over". If it is a matter of the one person using physical force or fraud on the other person, then an Objectivist system would address that with law. If it's a matter of the person who is getting "screwed up" as a result of their own decision-making, regardless of how limited their options are, then the employer IS NOT screwing anyone over. The employer IS NOT responsible for the options available to the employee. Whatever stipulation he sets, the employee can CHOOSE to accept or deny the employment.

One man is not responsible for ensuring that other men have viable choices or options. It is simply a matter of practicality that it is typically in his best interest for obtaining employees to make options valuable enough for other people to choose.

In fact, under objectivism what would stop a factory owner from stipulating that all female employees must be sexual servants to the management?

Females not electing to work under those conditions.

Edited by RationalBiker
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Over and over I've been told "that is a very unlikely scenario". Well this isn't. A person, fundamentally, as a principle, shouldn't have to either:

A.) Have sex with their boss

B.) Move (if able; how is this move paid for? How far must they go? Moving your family isn't like pressing the Home key on your browser)

C.) Starve / accept a drastically lower quality of life.

This is how I feel and I now understand how you feel. I'm not sure where else to go. We can shout at each other all day about the tyranny of the other :\ Someone suggested that I might be a utilitarian...I might look into that. If anyone can think of a constructive route to take from here, I'm all ears (or eyes as this is print media).

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I don't like double posting but I don't think this should be an edit. I've done some research. I read the following at http://ergosum.wordpress.com/2007/11/12/wh...r-the-disabled/

"In a free society, people with disabilities may be taken care of by several means: family members, lovers, friends, immediate social groups, the general benevolence and voluntary charity of free individuals, private institutions, corporations, religious organizations, etc. You do not need to have the concrete and specific answer to this. Just think at the level of principles." Just think at the level of principles. So basically Objectivists have no solution.

People donate large sums of money to charitable organizations, research, and churches every year. Why do you assume that would change especially that people will be able to keep all of their earnings?

Have you ever checked what is the actual % of truly disabled/mentally ill people in society? People use this argument all the time without understanding how small this issue is (how easily solvable).

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A person, fundamentally, as a principle, shouldn't have to... Have sex with their boss

Nobody has suggested they do. In fact we have told you the OPPOSITE. That person can CHOOSE not to work for that boss.

A person, fundamentally, as a principle, shouldn't have to... Move

Nobody has suggested they do. In fact we have told you the OPPOSITE. That person can either CHOOSE to stay and work under the present conditions or find work elsewhere.

Starve / accept a drastically lower quality of life.

Well they certainly can CHOOSE to starve, or they can CHOOSE to locate an employer who will value them. Or better yet - work for themselves, become a shopkepper, a basket weaver, a blacksmith, whatever their ability is that is of value to others.

Secondly, I'm not going to get bogged down in the (very real) details of picking up a sack and moving. I think that's callous. Things just aren't so simple

Actually, they ARE that simple. Your exmaple was about a villiage in Pakistan with one factory and nothing else to provide a means of earning a living. Clearly there is something wrong with your scenario. In such a situation, there would HAVE to be a local economy for other goods and services. Is this hypothetical factory providing everything? Food, plumbing, clothing, etc? Or are there other enterprises the workers go to for these things? Even in your hypothetical, a person obviously would have no other possessions or "ties" preventing them from literally packing up a bindle and walking to the next town where more employment opportunities might exist.

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Over and over I've been told "that is a very unlikely scenario". Well this isn't. A person, fundamentally, as a principle, shouldn't have to either:

A.) Have sex with their boss

They don't have to have sex with their boss.

B.) Move

Reality determines whether or not they should have to move, not a person's wishes. But along the lines of what you are saying here, a 'boss' should not be forced to make available options so that other people do not have to move. I do not think anyone has the right to make their problems someone else's problems.

C.) Starve / accept a drastically lower quality of life.

The main problem here is in the word "accept", which implies it's someone else's obligation to provide the person with something that he can accept RATHER than recognizing it is that person's own responsibility to produce or work for his own life. Again, you are attempting to transfer the responsibility of one person's problems (their life) onto another person.

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RATHER than recognizing it is that person's own responsibility to produce or work for his own life.

Agreed. I thought about making this argument but decided since we're in the magical land of pragmatism where principles are meaningless the and rivers flow with milk and coffee, opted to stay in the realm of these fantastic hypotheticals ;)

Edited by KevinDW78
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Yah I think we are at an impasse. There is no way in hell you're going to convince me that it is wrong for a government to tell employers that it isn't even an available option to force employees to have sex with bosses. Here I stand, I can do no other. No argument, no principle, no rationality can move me on this. You may be an Objectivist, but I am the immovable object on this issue. Objectivism is a philosophy; it is a statement of what we should do. It is not something like natural law. It is not an attempt to describe things as they inescapably are. An example of this would be the law of gravity. Gravity is not arguable. Objectivism is. I cannot imagine someone wanting Objectivism to be the ruling philosophy. It's not that I don't get what you're saying; I'm simply mortified by it :\

Also you call my examples fantastic. They are not. No I don't elaborate on every single aspect. I can, I just didn't think it necessary. Do I really have to add the following extremely plausible conditions to my example: The factory is the only company in town that pays enough to support the single mom's 3 kids. She doesn't have the money to move. She needs the factory's employment. This happened in history in the industrial age and continues today. Let me repeat this: I am not talking fantastic events that have no basis in reality. I am talking about events that have actually occurred. Bosses have used their leverage to gain sex from employees without causing such a rift as to cripple the company. Sure, if a person can move, learn a new language, and gain access to a place of employment better than the one being escaped, then so much the better. I am not impressed. You tell me "this is immoral so...yah we just can't violate it". Well that's the whole discussion.

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An impasse indeed. You have closed the one door that allows you to understand the world and your life better: reason.

Based on your admission, I'm through here.

I can imagine the frustration :dough: Try arguing with Christians who say "But I have faith". The last thing I want to is be like them (in retrospect the Martin Luther quote wasn't the best way to convey that). I just visualize myself, post car accident and paralyzed, being told that my survival wasn't anybody's problem. What will I do? Why should anyone care? It sends into my inner being a fear. Not the type of fear that a a bear or flying or heights instills...the kind of fear the 1984 gives me. It is pervasive, horrific, and callous. It isn't adrenaline fueled. It is life sapping. It isn't hateful. It is indifferent. I think I would be driven mad....truly nuts. If I cannot justify my shutting of this door, I hope that explains it. I do not shut doors quickly or lightly. Hell I'm still reading this...and I've never known when to shut up. Maybe it was my previous post. I dunno...this is my first post where I don't have a feeling of where I'm going. If my words seem bewildered, it is because I am. Again, I can't stress enough my appreciation of your time spent with me. I haven't read Atlas Shrugged and you might have blown me off in 2 minutes.

Edited by JohnS
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I don't see any difference between the force of a government and the force of an individual in regards to things they are depriving me of.

How can you not see a difference. With government they are forcing you to do something essentially at the point of a gun. Imagine a dictatorship, vote for Stalin or be shot, versus the "force" of an irrational employer telling you who to vote for? In the former case you do it under threat of death; in the latter you have the right to seek employment elsewhere if you think your boss is placing irrational demands on you. Are you saying that in a completely free economy that you believe all or most employers would be irrational? How would their businesses survive and thrive if this were true?

If you are going to seriously defend a situation where a boss can give lie detector tests to individuals in an effort to force them to vote a certain way...well don't count on mainstream success being around the corner.

Why are you so interested in "mainstream" success versus what is really important, doing what is morally right according to man's needs qua man and the facts of reality?

With a law that says a person cannot do that, has MY liberty been reduced? Nope. I'm still working, and I can vote how I wish. My freedom is increased.

Yeah, but you have reduced the freedom of your employer. Why is your freedom greater in objective value than his? Aren't all men equal before the law, or does the ability to create a wealth on a larger scale somehow cause one's right to freedom of action be reduced?

The freedom of the employer to do something horrible has decreased. I shall lose no sleep on this one.

Since when is firing someone "horrible". By what right does the employee have the ability to demand a job from anyone while saying anything? You would lose no sleep by violating a man's right to run his affairs as he see's fit without causing physical harm or fraud another? Sleep, I wouldn't even be able to look myself in the mirror if I advocated something so blatantly evil.

By the way, I'm still interested in what to do with the mentally and physically disabled...who takes care of them?

This is way off the topic you yourself created, but I'll give a short answer. First hopefully more people will abort mentally challenged fetus's before they are born. But in the case of those that exist the burden falls on whoever values these people, usually their parents. Also in a free society private charity would cover the expenses of these rather rare cases where these people are valued by no one else. Also in a proper society people would chose to help gifted children before the "disabled" first and foremost since they are the most deserving because of their potential to live highly productive lives.

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Well I would say the employer is depriving said person of the quality of life dependent on the employment. People, by necessity, make plans that depend on their income. The idea that an employer could say "have sex with me or watch me severely impact your life" offends my every sensibility. I am not content to let the free market punish the business as it lost an employee (if it did in fact lose one).

More important, however, is my previous post. I don't see how it is answerable. I think that...it is the conclusion. I don't know for sure, but my hunch is that it is. I've learned a lot but there are some unbridgeable chasms here. To you, principle is supreme over everything. In fact, everything else added together cannot trump your principle. I'm pragmatic. What else is there to say?

I want to say that if someone says "You're right, maybe you should go now," I wouldn't be offended. I'm here, and I'm listening. Yet I don't want to overstay the welcome. It is ok for the conversation to end if you believe that it is indeed time for it to.

Edited by JohnS
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It sends into my inner being a fear.

Now you are starting to gain some valuable insight into your own self. Everything we have been discussing - your root is always fear. Do you really want to live your life (and demand that everyone around you do also) based on fear? What will that reduce your life to? Maybe that's the reason you are where you are in this hypothetical life you discuss.

Edited by KevinDW78
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Well I could give some beautiful sentences on the greatness of moderate collectivization. I have a hunch that the soaring words would in fact fall flat in this arena. I also didn't come here to do that. You are all largely aware of arguments that run counter to your own. You do not need me to come in here to "educate" you on how wrong you are about leftist ideas. Also, I feel there is a legitimate reason to fear your policies. The average would be at the mercy of the Atlases of the world. Each Atlas would be a king, and each average person a thrall. I'm truly surprised you haven't outright attacked me as "evil" for my somewhat Machiavellian outlook on how the average use the government to essentially treat the Atlases like innovation-producing cattle. This is a very negative framing of the issue but I was trying to communicate in a framework you wouldn't reject out of hand. Lastly, on fear, the dystopian worlds of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 both shared situations of principle over people. If people have to die or get ground up by the machine in order for the Grand Principle to survive, so be it; people were expendable.

So, how do you feel about my previous post?

Edited by JohnS
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I think at this point you need to read Atlas Shrugged and then please come back to tell us what you think and if you still hold the arguments you do now.

Fair enough. This has been fairly productive and fun. Have a good night everyone.

-- JohnS

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